Algal blooms leave industries wilting, but seaweed could save the day

It will go a long way towards mitigating waste, say experts, but needs huge investment

27 May 2021 - 20:49 By Virginia Gewin

In May 2019 the Mississippi River dumped a daily average of more than 5,000 metric tons of nitrate and 800 metric tons of phosphorous into the Gulf of Mexico, the highest levels in the past 40 years. These excess nutrients from Midwest farm fertiliser and animal waste rob the waters off Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas of oxygen, fuelling toxic algal blooms and causing what’s come to be known as a dead zone.

The size varies each year, but this particular patch’s five-year average hovers at about 13,000km2. To date, a US government task force has made little if any progress towards the goal of reducing it to 5,000km2...

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