Algae is often hailed as the next great biofuel resource, but the pond scum can multiply enough to threaten water supplies when left to its own devices.
China’s 900-square-mile Taihu Lake, in the east near Shanghai, is covered in polluting blue-green algae blooms, which are mainly caused by untreated sewage (which contains high concentrations of nitrogen). Combined with industrial waste, the blooms post a major threat to Taihu’s status as a water source for the nearby city of Wuxi (population: 2.3 million). And despite a multi-million dollar investment in sewage pipes, Taihu’s water remains a problem.
The solution? 10 million algae-eating fish. Chinese officials plan on releasing green and silver carp into the Taihu as part of a massive clean-up effort. Even though the 10 million fish will only clean up one-tenth of Taihu’s massive area, it’s a huge step for one of China’s most scenic lakes.
The country has used algae-eating fish to clean Taihu and other lakes before. The fish, which include Black Molly, Plecos, and Siamese Algae Eaters, are also often used by fish enthusiasts to clean freshwater aquariums.
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