Toxic algae blooms lead to closure of every beach in the state of Mississippi

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a popular vacation spot at this time of the year, but those hoping to visit the beaches in the Magnolia State are either making other plans or staying home due to the proliferation of a blue-green toxic algae bloom, CNN reports:

“Along the state’s Gulf Coast, all 21 of the state’s beaches have been shut down for swimming due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
“HABs occur when ‘colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people’ or wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.
“The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.”
Technically, the blooms are not algae. Instead, they’re bacteria. The cause: Changes in water temperature and fertilizer run-off.
Pascagoula resident Bill Kenan noted:
“I had a feeling it was going this way. Water always flows west to east. It just keeps going and going and going. I don’t know if it’s ever going to get better. I hope it does.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been warning for years that the ongoing climate crisis across the globe is a major reason these algae blooms are being seen with increasing regularity, according to EcoWatch:
“The climate crisis and increases in nutrient levels of bodies of water due to fertilizer run-off are potentially causing harmful algal blooms to occur more often and in areas not previously affected, ABC News reported. Warmer waters with a marked increase in surface temperature or a change in sea currents are particularly susceptible to the bloom. A harmful algal bloom can look like foam, scum or mats on the surface of water and can be different colors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The culprit in Mississippi is the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway in Louisiana, which allowed a sudden influx of freshwater to inundate the coastline:

“The spillway was opened to offset a rising Mississippi River that experienced massive swelling after an especially wet winter that caused flooding in along the river’s coastlines.

“The spillway is expected to close mid-July after the river’s waters recede. Experts believe its closure will prompt the algae bloom to dissipate. ‘Once they close the structure, conditions will start to change pretty quickly,’ said John Lopez, of Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, a conservation organization that monitors water conditions throughout the Gulf Coast region, as reported by CBS New Orleans.”

In other words, the actions of humans are responsible for the mess on the Gulf Coast. Seems like whenever we try to outsmart Mother Nature, the result is almost always negative.


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Andrew Bradford

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