Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cut the odes; let's get down to business

Today is World Water Day, a UN commemoration where you tip your hat to water’s virtues. After the poetics are over, it’s time to get down to business & note what predatory economic policies are doing to this indispensable source of all life on Earth. All over the world, Enteromorphia Proliferaso has invaded seashores in a massive body of stringy, slimy, smelly green algae. The invasion in spring last year at Qingdao, in the province of Shandong, China is the mother of them all, covering 440 km (275 miles) of shoreline & a 12,400 sq. km (4,790 sq. mile) expanse of the Yellow Sea. Despite the smell which to lesser minds suggests rancidity, some scientists say it is not toxic & even edible, & vacationers from all over northeastern China continue to swim there. Some scientists are still scratching their heads at where this stuff comes from; other scientists say it is poor management of effluence from fertilizer & sewage into the ocean. It also blocks light, killing fish, crowds out other aquatic plants, & alters animal life by destroying shelter & nesting. As the algae dies & sinks to the seafloor, it generates vast “dead zones” when bacteria digesting the dead algae suck the oxygen out of the seawater. The problem in Shandong became an international concern in 2008 when rafts of algae inundated the shoreline--a sailing venue for the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics. The Chinese government dragooned thousands of fishermen, students, sea patrols, & even the army to clear the algae from the shore for the games & 100,000 tons were removed--lord knows to where. Because this kind of infestation has developed in waterways all over China from neglect of sewage management, the government has pledged a policy of “clean water, blue skies” but the trajectory of Chinese economic development is in the other direction. (Photo via IB Times)

No comments:

Post a Comment