250,000 Football Fields of Green Algae Now Cover Lake Erie
A worldwide phenomenon has become an annual problem for the U.S. region—with possibly harmful results.
Thick, slimy algae blooms covered Lake Erie once again last week, stretching for more than 700 square miles.
Such bright-colored blooms have increased in size and frequency since the 2000s, according to the New York Times, mostly because of heavy fertilizer use on nearby agricultural land. Rain causes the fertilizer to run off the land into rivers that empty into Lake Erie.
The lake now experiences algae blooms every summer, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Similar blooms are happening in lakes around the world as a result of warming temperatures and increased fertilizer use—a result of greater agricultural needs to feed a growing global population.
Part of the blooms—cyanobacteria—can produce a toxin that seeps into drinking water and poisons