The heat is on….and so is the watch for harmful, lake-choking algae. In lakeside and coastal communities around the world, rising temperatures brought on by a warming planet are raising the level of concern about more frequent outbreaks of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. An outbreak, or algal bloom, may look like a mat of blue-green paint or pea soup on the water’s surface—or it can lurk below.
BlueGreen Water Technologies CEO Eyal Harel joined Punta Gorda City Council Member Jaha Cummings on the Tri-County Hour radio show to discuss Florida’s recurring problem with toxic algal blooms.
“Blooming algae is a bacterial infection. The name is cyanobacteria. It's a water infection that grows from season to season, if left untreated,” said Harel.
Cyanobacteria produce toxins that not only harm aquatic ecosystems, but can kill fish and birds and sicken people and pets. It can threaten local economies, drinking water supplies, and property values.
“This is not just a Florida problem or a U.S. problem, it’s a global problem. We’re seeing a clear trend of algal blooms becoming more frequent and more severe.”
When cyanobacteria take over, infected water becomes too hostile for other organisms, creating a dead aquatic zone. It’s happening everywhere. Millions of freshwater lakes and miles of ocean are considered dead zones. Florida is a classic example.
“Through a lot of research we learned how to surgically treat algal blooms by targeting only the toxic organisms, “ said Harel. “We can not only solve a bloom in progress but actually prevent blooms from occurring altogether.”
“We use remote sensing capabilities, satellite imagery, and drones to get real time data from the water and then we use that data to create an action plan,” said Harel. “Within 24 to 48 hours the problem is solved.”
Listen to Eyal Harel on Tri-County Hour here.