Thursday, July 11, 2019

Flesh-Eating Bacteria, Algae Blooms, Dangerous Water and Beaches – Welcome to the New Florida

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

If you live in the Tampa Sarasota area no doubt, you have experienced the effects of the recent algae and red tide blooms. Almost everyone you talk to seem to feel this is the worst outbreak ever. If you’re curious about the science and the impact, here are a few good links.
From the SURFRIDER Foundation Blue Water Task Force, by Mara Dias: Florida’s Toxic Algae Crisis
Governor DeSantis has taken some big steps to put in place the State-level  infrastructure to address the water-quality  issues.
Check out Tom Hayden, Fort Myers News-Press / USA TODAY NETWORK- Florida: Editorial: Gov. Ron DeSantis' water quality order a must for Florida.
The Governor attempted to stay out of the climate-change  political debate in addressing the water and air quality issues, but it didn’t take long for the climate change fanatics to begin criticizing the governor’s efforts. It would be beneficial if we could keep some of the climate-change  hysteria out of the efforts to address a major crisis in our state.
Climate change plays a role, but not necessarily THE role in the problem.
For now, the question at a practical level is what’s next. The State can set the tone, provide funding and leadership but if local county and municipal jurisdictions don’t step up and cooperate with the state’s efforts all could be for naught.
The sudden expansion of flesh-eating bacteria cases, including both salt and fresh water raises major health and economic/tourism concerns.
Here are some serious questions:
  • These bacteria, algae and blooms are a serious health risk. How do they affect you?
  •  Is it safe to swim in Florida coastal waters?
  •  Will you take your children or grand children to the beach?
  •  What will be the short-run  impact on tourism?
  •  If you have respiratory issues will you be able to stay in the bay area or must you move?
  •  If you are a winter visitor will you come to Florida this fall?
  •  If you are looking to retire and the Bay area has been high on your list will you reconsider?

Even with all the resources Governor DeSanctis has committed and a continuing state funding commitment this is not a short-term issue. We could be in for several years of this problem.
The economic impact could be severe and a hit on property values, especially near the ocean, intercoastal waterway  and rivers is a distinct possibility.
With all the information out there, it is time to take some precautions about how you interact with the environment.
Pay extra attention to the beach and swim warnings, stay out of rivers, ponds, standing and flood waters. If you have serious respiratory issues, a call or visit to your doctor might be in order to get some advice.
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