A ‘red tide’ of toxic algae hits Florida beaches

A toxic algae called “Karenia brevis” is ravaging Florida (United States). For the past week, the red tide generated by the organization has caused the death of several thousand fish on part of the coast of the American state. The algae also makes the air unbreathable on the beaches affected by the phenomenon, reports the Huffington Post.

This abnormal proliferation of the algae affects more than 250 kilometers of shoreline, from the north of Tampa Bay to the city of Naples (United States), specified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Concentrations of “Karenia brevis” are particularly high along Sarasota and Pinellas counties.

A rescued manatee

In this last sector, precisely, two tons of debris, mainly dead fish, have been removed from the beaches, county spokesman Tony Fabrizio told the newspaper. Tampa Bay Times. A manatee, affected by pollution, was rescued near Naples and entrusted to the care of a marine park.

The algae is naturally present in the Gulf of Mexico but it is currently proliferating due to pollutants in the waters, which are loaded with nitrogen. The marine organism “generates a toxin that can affect the central nervous systems of fish, birds, mammals and other animals,” state health authorities have warned. But marine life is not the only victim of this pollution.

Skin, eye, and breathing difficulties

Many people who were on the beaches affected by the “red tide” reported breathing difficulties or eye irritation. This is why the FWC has asked people not to swim in or around pollution-affected waters to avoid skin irritations, rashes, possible burns or even sore eyes. Patients suffering from asthma or lung diseases should under no circumstances come into contact with such a concentration of algae.

This is not the first time that the coasts of Florida have been affected by a red tide of this nature. During the summer of 2018, “Karenia brevis” had wreaked havoc, killing dolphins, sea turtles and fish. More than one hundred tons of marine animal carcasses were then recovered. This new pollution could last until mid-April.

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