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Algal bloom, Shandong style

Shangdong

This is a pretty impressive site.

Green algae rules the beach – The seas off China have been hit by their largest ever growth of algae, with vast waves of growth turning the Yellow Sea, green.  For the last 6 years, large quantities of non-poisonous green seaweed has thrived near Qingdao in northeast China’s Shandong province.

The usual culprits for the massive surge in algal growth include

  • warm days with plenty of sunlight and meaningful amounts of
    • detergents
    • industrial and sewage spillage

Apart from a high squeam factor, the green seaweed is not harmful.  It will only be a matter of time before inventive entrepreneurs harvest the bounty for financial gain.  Off course harvesting is not really addressing the cause, but it will introduce a useful remedy.

Reduction in nutrient spillage will curtail the growth significantly.  To remove the last vestiges will be tricky - a problem that is found throughout the world.  At the moment the list of cost effective algal control methods is a very short one.  The old adage prevention is better than cure holds true for algal growth, but in an industrialized world, prevention is sometimes a price too high to pay.

And talking of short lists, there are a number of other effluent treatment challenges, pollution problems that are not easily solved - or at least not without expending considerable energy and cost.  Here are a some examples;

  • desalination
  • sludge handling and management
  • aeration of activated sludge in effluent treatment plants
  • biomass liquid/solid separation Shangdong 02

We still have quite a long way to go before resolving some of these big posers in elegant and cost-effective ways.  For waste water treatment technologies there appears to be no Moore's Law equivalent, although with out any doubt, Burke's contract holds true.  Here is what Edmond Burke has to say.

“The real social contract, was not Rousseau's social contract between the noble savage and the General Will, but a "partnership" between the present generation and future generations.”  It is not too difficult to grasp the significance of this - and the rather dismal terms the present generation is without opposition, defining for generations as yet unborn or too young to contest.

Moore's law explains in general terms how overall processing power for computers will double every two years.

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