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One of the most important issues that we Floridians are facing is that toxins have been found in our water. Most people don’t know how bad the problem is. I think Florida residents should be told about the toxins that is in our water and what health problems they are causing so we can make a difference by cleaning the ocean and stop polluting. In fact, our job as residents of Florida, we can help get rid of this problem. We should stop polluting the ocean and making it a suitable place for the algae to grow. Runoff from farms should go somewhere else where it will not cause a problem to the environment. We should also figure out a way to get rid of the algae that is present. We are being told that the toxins will not have long term effects on our health, so we are not as concerned as we should be.
Research has shown that “exposure to the blue-green algae could lead to death” (Hayden). We should learn more about the algae and what effects it is causing on both residents and wildlife. People living in areas where the algae blooms are present, are exposed to developing liver disease. Instead of denying the fact that the algae may be harmful, the health department should provide evidence of why they think that. It does not help that the sugarcane and other farms have fertilizers and agricultural byproducts that have been getting into the ocean as runoff. The nutrients from the fertilizers and agricultural byproducts and the saltwater from the ocean make it an ideal location for the algae to bloom. We also had a hurricane last year which could have possibly brought in nutrients from other places. Also, the warm weather causes the algae to “thrive”. A particular species of algae in the Gulf of Mexico, have been known to create a type of toxin that “kills fish and causes respiratory distress”.
Not only are the toxins in the water, but they can be transferred into the air. When the waves crash against the shore, the toxins are released into the air. As Florida residents Soto 2 walk along the beach, we are inhaling the toxins which would results in us getting side effects such as “nausea and vomiting” (Crunden). The algae problem is so bad that it is killing fish and sea turtles and their bodies are showing up on shore. In addition, we are getting toxins into our bodies from fish and shellfish. People who eat “seafood three times or more” per week have the highest risk of getting a “high mercury concentration” in their body (Williams). This will definitely cause serious health problems for those who eat a lot of fish. Florida residents who eat fish should know about the multiple consequences to understand why they should lower the amount of fish they eat. We are not the only ones affected by the mercury, dolphins have “the highest mercury concentrations found in the species” (Williams).
The high levels of mercury can “damage brain function” and it can also harm a “developing fetus” (Williams). Dolphins are considered coastal predators and since they are at the top of the food chain, they can help show us what is going on the environment. Seagrass, which sits at the bottom of the ocean, is also affected by the algae. The algae sits at the surface of the water blocking the sun which the seagrass needs in order to make photosynthesis. Without photosynthesis, the seagrass is dying. Florida’s most popular seafood is stone crab. The stone crabs are harvested from the Gulf Coast, where the harmful algae bloom is located.
In conclusion, there are many possible ways to help the Florida water crisis. We, Florida residents, can help by cleaning up the ocean and finding a new place for fertilizer runoff to be released. We can also help by choosing a new governor for Florida, one who will help solve this algae problem. Someone who will tell residents the truth about how bad it is. The health department and scientists should figure out a way to get rid of the algae blooms. Another way to help is to raise awareness all around the state about the algae. There are other ways that could get rid of the algae for good. Some long-term solutions could be “a new waste water system or a reservoir” (McCarthy).
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