The boys who own the sugar plantations won’t let the Army Corps of Engineers fix the problem
The one thing photos can’t convey is the horrific, pervasive and dangerous stink that accompanies toxic algae incursions. This stuff isn’t just gross, it’s dangerous, causing symptoms ranging from threats from fevers-like and rashes to diarrhea and vomiting
The worst outbreak of toxic algae in southeastern Florida to date has closed beaches and fouled the air in a wide swatch of Martin and St. Lucie counties, causing billions of dollars of lost business to the tourist industry and driving some waterfront home owners from their houses. The nasty blue-green stuff has been described as “guacamole thick.” As it enters the Atlantic Ocean, it compromises seagrasses, oyster beds and fish populations.
Centered on the St. Lucie River city of Stewart, the widespread bloom has spread to Juno Beach, Jupiter, and Delray.
Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida, but the water is hardly “fresh”
While algae is too some degree a natural occurrence, the situation in South Florida (plus the Great Lakes, China and elsewhere around the world) is a man made disaster caused by agriculture pollution from Lake Okeechobee and the powerful sugar cane growers who dump it there. While the causal chain is slightly convoluted, there is absolutely no debate as to where the problem lies. In a nutshell, agricultural run off from the mega sugar farms north of the lake are being channeled to where they don’t belong.
It isn’t just the cane growers fouling Lake Okeechobee. It is also full of toxins from chemicals, fertilizers, cow manure and assorted municipal pollution, to the point that the algae tests 20 times higher than that allowed by the World Health Organization. Once attorney described this, the largest freshwater lake in Florida, as a toilet.
With heavy rains raising Lake Okeechobee water levels last fall, the South Florida Water Management district was forced to pump water into the lake in order to prevent flooding. But the industrial sugar corporations which use the lake water for irrigation and wastewater wanted the water dumped before the shaky old dikes were breached. Another way to put it: they wanted the pollution infested waters of Okeechobee purged of algae caused by their fertilizer run off, so they had it illegally diverted. So all the phosphate and sugar production waste was sent east into the rivers, instead of south where the normal flow would take it.
There is nothing the lifeform known as algae loves more than phosphorus and other evil chemicals.
In a scenario similar to the NRA dominance of Congress, the Florida good ole boys understand that the sugar cane industry owns their scrotums. So the citizenry on the coasts are screwed again.
Toxic algae “blooms” are increasing rapidly around the globe, especially in the Great Lakes and off the coast of China where big ag abuses divert mega farm waste into rivers and eventually the coast. More alarmingly, toxic algae blooms are beginning to expand into the Arctic.