Preventing water crises
Küldés e-mailben Facebook Twitter Nyelvváltás
Preventing water crises

Algal blooms grow more severe in the great lakes of the world

Over the last three decades, summer algal blooms in all large fresh-water lakes around the world have grown more severe – this is the conclusion of a global study, the longest ever of its kind, conducted by researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science and NASA. 

In their paper published in Nature, the researchers recalled how in 2014, residents of Toledo in the state of Ohio were forced to stop using tap water due to a toxic algal bloom, while in Florida, a state of emergency were declared in 2016 and 2018, respectively, due to the aquatic phenomenon, according to an article published on the popular science portal Phys.org.

Algal blooms can be harmful because of their intense growth, or because of the appearance of populations of toxin-producing phytoplankton. Prior to this study, however, it was unclear whether the problem was really getting worse, and the degree to which human activities such as agriculture, urban development and anthropogenic climate change were contributing to the problem was also unclear.

Photo: Shutterstock

In this effort, researchers analysed 30 years of satellite data to track the long-term changes in summer algal blooms in 71 large lakes in 33 countries over six continents in the period from 1984 to 2013.

“We have found that the peak intensity of the summertime algal blooms increased in more than two-thirds
of lakes but decreased in a
statistically significant way
in only six of the lakes,”

said Anna Michalak, a scientist at the Institution.

The causes behind the more intense algal blooms are different in individual lakes, that is to say researchers have failed to identify consistent patterns among the lakes.

One clear finding, however, is that the only lakes that have prevented intensification of the algal blooms over the last 30 years were the ones that were exposed to the least warming. This suggests that in some areas climate change is already preventing the recovery of lakes.

Photo: Shutterstock

Source: MTI – Hungarian News Agency

Further information: Phys.org

Hungarian water treatment plant in Vietnam

It was announced in 2010 that the Vietnamese government would like to build a water treatment plant in Central Vietnam. Hungary is famous for its water treatment technology so they decided on a Hungarian partner.

The Biopolus BioMakery in the Netherlands

The Trappist monks of Koningshoeven Abbey have been brewing beer since 1881, and in recent years, they have also been baking bread and making chocolate, honey and cheese. The water to be treated is the wastewater from these brewing and manufacturing activities, together with the municipal wastewater from the Abbey and the visiting centre.

Over two tonnes of golf balls collected from Monterey Bay

Specialists believe almost 30 kilograms of microplastics has eroded from such a quantity of golf balls into the water.

The Pacific cleanup may succeed

The system created by a Dutch inventor called System 101, whose first trial run, conducted a year ago, had failed, has started collecting plastic waste on the Pacific again.

Hungarian innovation to filter pharmaceutical residues

Many studies worldwide have shown that the active compounds of medications are released into the environment with wastewater and can easily be reintroduced into the human food chain from there. Filtering these residues out is an increasingly acute concern, but, thankfully, the world of science has already responded to the problem.

Garbage from Asia has inundated an island in the middle of the Atlantic

Researchers from Canada and Africa have found a massive amount of plastic bottles, originating form Asia, mainly from China, on Inaccessible Island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean. The bottles were probably discarded into the water and then washed up on the island from cargo ships passing the region.

Pharmaceutical residues in Hungarian waters

In Hungary, too, the active ingredients of various medications are discharged continuously into the environment with wastewater, so they can now be detected in surface and underground waters as well as in soils.

What can we do against pharmaceutical residues in our waters?

After being introduced into human and animal organisms, some pharmaceutical compounds are secreted via urine unchanged, and then, through wastewater, those compounds may reach surface waters that serve as drinking water supplies, representing a risk for both aquatic ecosystems and for the purity of drinking water.

Microplastics from an unexpected source

We’ve known for a long time that plastic food packaging, wearing car tyres and clothing made of synthetic fibres are all sources of microplastic pollution. However, a new study has identified a new source of pollution in our kitchens, or more precisely in our teacups.

Steroids in the water?

Despite the continuous development of wastewater treatment technologies, the complete removal of synthetic pharmaceuticals using the three-step method currently in use is yet to be achieved. A number of researchers are working to improve the efficiency of the removal of these molecules from the present value of 10 to 30 percent.