“The thing that truly surprised me the most was that every salp, regardless of year collected, species, life stage, or part of the ocean collected, had plastic in its stomach,” says biological oceanographer Jennifer Brandon.
Salps are small transparent sea creatures that feed constantly on nanophyto- or microzooplankton while swimming in all of the worlds seas and oceans. The microplastics they ingest are as small as 10 micrometers, smaller than the width of a human hair. The 100% ingestion rate is alarming since salp digest their food in two to seven hours.
Brandon warns, mini-microplastics in the salp could make their way into the human body through the seafood we enjoy that eat salp. More than one-third of mini-microplastics found were synthetic fabric fibers from polyester or nylon. Car tires were the second-leading source, which release plastic particles as they erode.
Earth’s water cycle constantly refreshes our water supply as it travels through (the basic) phases of precipitation, evaporation, and condensation. We depend on the water cycle to bring us fresh, clean water.
Our water can only be as clean as it’s filters. Damage of soil, air, or ground surfaces also damages the filtration or renewal of water.
Greenhouse gases affects the amount, distribution, timing, and quality of available water which affects our activities like recreation (fishing, hunting, water recreation), farming, manufacturing.
Contaminants left on the surface or in the soil contaminate groundwater as it soaks through the soil, requiring additional filtration for humans to drink.
Every person can help prevent pollution, which helps keep the water cycle flowing smoothly and our water clean.
Need to keep the kids occupied while they’re home for break?
Try some of these water conservation games rounded up by Water, Use it Wisely.
To see more of Alison’s creative global environmental accomplishments check out her website below.
Capetown’s crisis is in the spotlight now, but other metropolitan areas could soon follow:
Twelve wells supply the City of Scottsbluff’s drinking water. We have no need to add chlorine or chemicals because of the high quality groundwater. The wells pump an average 4 million gallons a day to supply residents, businesses, and industry within the City.
Because we rely on groundwater it is important to avoid contaminating our supply. Materials like fertilizers, pesticides, gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals move through soil and seep into groundwater supplies making it unsafe and unfit for human use. Please preserve our water supply with proper use and care of chemicals, cars, and other substances that can contribute to ground, and groundwater, pollution.
Blue-green algae can house cyanobacteria that causes illness ranging from mild rash to death in both humans and animals. Blue-green algae forms a scum like pea soup or paint on the surface of the water during the summer and fall. While most blue-algae is harmless, the cyanobacteria is not.
Nebraska monitors 52 public beaches May 1 to September 30 each year, including Lake Minatare, and posts current warnings on the webpage below. Cyanobacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye, so it’s recommended to avoid contact with blue-green algae blooms and to prevent pets from drinking or swimming near them.
For more information on toxic blue-green algae please see:
NDEQ Toxic Algae Factsheet: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/ENV042607
“..in the St. Lucie estuary, about half the sea grass, which is a food source for many marine animals, died off during last year’s algae blooms. Among humans who’ve been exposed to the algae, there has been an increase in antibiotic-resistant staph infections. Florida’s governor has declared a state of emergency in four counties,” according to Janice Kaspersen, editor of Stormwater: The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals.
Fertilizer in water runoff is boosting the growth of blue-green algae and hurting more than Florida’s $109 billion a year tourist industry. Cyanobacteria flourish with phosphorus and nitrogen, primary ingredients in fertilizers. The fertilizer boosts growth that create large algae blooms during summer and fall that deplete oxygen and diminish sunlight in the water. The bacteria not only affect aquatic life but also cause beach closures for health safety.
Fertilizer is one of the largest pollutants of stormwater runoff in urban areas. Please use fertilizers “sparingly and caringly” – apply according to the directions, when wind is still, and rain is not in the immediate forecast. You’ll be protecting more than just your plants.
Photograph: Toxic blue-green algae bloom in Klamath River in California taken by David McLain for National Geographic.