Toxic algae bloom killing marine animals, causing respiratory problems across Southwest Florida

by Perry Wheeler

July 26, 2018

Washington, DC – Hundreds of sea turtles and other marine mammals have washed up on Southwest Florida beaches this year, as a toxic algae bloom spreads across several counties. Greenpeace has heard from numerous individuals in the region who have reported respiratory problems and urged greater attention to this environmental and public health threat.

In response to the news, Greenpeace Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar said:

“Greenpeace supporters in Southwest Florida just contacted us about a devastating toxic algae bloom stretching across several counties. Fish, sea turtles, pelicans, sharks, and even manatees are washing up dead, and many people are reporting respiratory problems. Local businesses are struggling. Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency, but his climate denial and anti-environmental policies are part of the problem.

“These reports indicate a level of economic cost, human health concern, and environmental impact approaching that which we’d expect in a large hurricane or wildfire. Toxic algae blooms like this occur naturally, but they have grown in frequency and intensity in recent years. While the causes are subject to some debate, the likely culprits are a combination of elevated water temperatures from climate change, increased nutrient load from Big Sugar, phosphate mines and other sources, and some bad decisions by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“More must be done for Southwest Florida, and with urgency. The health and well-being of people and the environment must be prioritized over corporate interests like Big Sugar in the region.”

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Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is global seafood communications and outreach manager at Greenpeace USA.

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