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St. Johns River, Florida's longest river and a central commercial waterway, is expected to see thriving algae blooms this summer. Experts claim that conditions will be perfect for the toxic microorganisms over the next few months, Jacksonville's WTEV-TV reported.
According to Dr. Quinton White, marine science director at Jacksonville University, algae could cause serious health problems, suck up oxygen from water and prevent vessels from sailing. A number of contributing factors have fueled algae growth. Algae usually die during cold winter months but there were fewer freezes this winter. Adding to the problem is the fact that fertilizers and leaks from septic tanks have washed nutrients into the river, causing further growth, White explained.
Some $842,000 in the state of Florida budget will be allocated to cleanup and prevention of wastewater runoff in St. Johns River. But until this happens, White advises residents to stay away from water that appears to be green on the surface and not to allow their pets to drink it.
Algae bloom problems are not confined to Florida. Scientists have warned that the Great Lakes are seriously threatened by the toxic slime. Raj Bejankiwar, physical scientist with the International Joint Commission, told CBC News that algae bloom is likely to cause damage to the economy this year as it will drive thousands of tourists away.