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The Baltic Sea Gets Slimed [View All]

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-26-03 09:27 AM
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The Baltic Sea Gets Slimed
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HELSINKI - "It sounds like a bad 1950s science fiction movie: ugly green slime spreading through the sea, killing fish and threatening children and animals that swim in the water. But experts say this scenario could become reality in the Baltic, the world's largest brackish-water sea, surrounded by 14 countries in which about 85 million people live, unless tougher controls on toxic waste and the disposal of nutrients are introduced.

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Despite some tougher environmental controls, 2003 is expected to be a bad year for blue-green algae. A by-product of heavy industry, it contains a liver toxic particularly dangerous to small children and has caused deaths in dogs and cattle. It is also blamed for skin and respiratory conditions. The algae is also blamed for depleting fish stocks, partly due to the decomposition of dead algae blooms which sink to the bottom of the se using up its oxygen base.

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The Baltic, which has an average depth of 55 meters (180 feet) compared with more than 3,600 meters (11,810 feet) in the Atlantic Ocean, is more vulnerable to toxic and nutrient inputs, largely because of its waters' limited exchange with the open seas. It takes 30 to 50 years for the total water supply in the Baltic to change, so even if all nutrient inputs were halted it would take decades for it to recover, (ed. - marine biologist Stuart) Thomson said."

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Reuters
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