Devastating Effects of Pollution in Florida

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Florida is a tourist hotspot known for its beaches. However, Florida's water are being contaminated by an algae bloom known as red tide. The algae is Karenia brevis, which is a species of dinoflagellates. Red Tide cost Florida millions of dollars and is negatively affecting its coastal communities. Additionally, red tide is responsible for thousands of Florida's marine life with its toxin and causes health issues for those that are affected. The red tide is also is made worse due to nutrient pollution, which feed the algae. Overall, red tide is not preventable as it is natural, but the damage can be reduced by limiting nutrient pollution.

Nutrient pollution is a manmade problem that is costly, widespread, and challenging (Sources and Solutions). It help the algae grow faster by giving it nitrogen and phosphorus, which is its primary food sources (Sources and Solutions). The main sources of nutrient pollution are agriculture, wastewater, and landscaping (Sources and Solutions). Agriculture contribute to nutrient pollution by providing animal manure and fertilizers, which are both rich in phosphorus and nitrogen. Animal manure and fertilizers can be leak into ground waters or wash into nearby water (Sources and Solutions). Wastewater contribute to nutrient pollution if the pollutants are not removed from the water properly as it contain phosphorus and nitrogen from food, human waste, and certain detergents and soaps (Sources and Solutions). Landscaping contribute to nutrient pollution when fertilizers, pet waste, yard waste. detergents and certain soaps, which contain phosphorus and nitrogen, are not properly disposed of or used (Sources and Solutions).

Red Tide grows and expands faster due to nutrient pollution, which resulted in several harmful effects such as the death of marine life, severe impacts on coastal communities, and health problems to humans. Red Tide is killing Florida's marine life that has come into contact with it. Most marine life died from the food that they consumed, which has been contaminated by the harmful algae toxin that came from the Red Tide (Gomez). This effect has led to an enormous amount of fish deaths, which would become a health hazard as the contaminated fish risk being eaten by marine animals, birds and human (West). This effect remain in addition to the leading cause of death for manatees, which is an endangered species (Red Tide).

Another effect of red tide is the negative and severe impacts on Florida economy. This effect has led to coastal communities that rely on tourism to lose millions of dollars in revenue (West). Commercial shellfish and fishing would also lose revenue as shellfish beds and fish would be contaminated by the deadly algae toxin (Red Tide). Restaurants, hotels, and water based tourism attractions that are located in area where the Red Tide is occurring would equally suffer a loss of income (Red Tide).

Furthermore, red tide also leads to human health problems. People are vulnerable to the effect of red tide though the exposure to the toxins that is released into the air by the algae and contaminated seafood (Red Tide). The algae can also cause various types of neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal disorders (West). People exposed to the algae will suffer severe symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, rashes and many others (West). Exposure to the toxin can sometimes cause death (West).

However, there are solutions in limiting nutrient pollution. A solution to reducing nutrient pollution in agriculture are nutrient management, which is applying fertilizers in the right amount, with the right method at the right time of the year (Sources and Solutions). Another solution is cover crops, which are planting certain, clovers, grain, or grasses that help keep nutrients out of water by reducing soil erosion and recycling excess nitrogen (Sources and Solutions). Buffers can also be used; buffers are planting grass, shrubs, and trees around fields that border water bodies as it help by filtering out and absorbing nutrients before it can reach a body of water (Sources and Solutions). Conservation tillage is useful because it reduces soil and erosion compaction, reduce how often fields are tilled, reduces runoff, and builds soil organic matter (Sources and Solutions). Livestock waste can be managed by keeping waste and animals out of lakes, rivers, and streams, and drainage water management, which prevent degradation of water in local lakes and streams by reducing the nutrient loadings (Sources and Solutions).

A solution to limiting nutrient solution in wastewater are upgrading wastewater treatment systems, which can often be expensive for rate and municipalities payers, but upgrades in a long run can save a wastewater treatment plant a lot of money or end up paying for itself (Sources and Solutions). Another solution to wastewater is the use of septic systems, which allow homeowners to locally treat their wastewater (Sources and Solutions). Homeowners can maintain and protect their system by inspecting their system regularly and pump their tank as necessary, use water efficiently, not disposing of hazardous waste in toilets or sinks, and avoid placing heavy objects and driving vehicles on their drain field (Sources and Solutions).The solutions to reducing nutrient pollution in landscaping is choosing phosphate-free detergents and soaps, using the appropriate amount of detergent, informing pet owners why it is important to pick up their pet waste, use water efficiently, and washing cars on the lawn (Sources and Solutions).

Though climate change deniers disagree, Red Tide, while natural, is made worse by human pollution. The nutrient from the pollution would help the algae grow and expand at a fast rate. The devastating effects it had on Florida can be seen as it had contaminated beaches, caused thousands of marine life deaths, impacted coastal communities and had caused health problems. Thankfully, there are solutions to limit nutrient pollution and reduce the damage caused by red tide.

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Devastating Effects Of Pollution In Florida. (2019, Apr 15). Retrieved March 3, 2024 , from

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