Thursday 22 March 2018

World Water Day - global toxic algae bloom

To spotlight the global environmental and economic challenges caused by harmful algal blooms in fresh waterbodies, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation today released a three-part docuseries with National Geographic photographer Andy Mann, coinciding with World Water Day.

Typically caused by excess phosphorus, harmful algal blooms pollute freshwater in more than 15,000 waterways in the U.S. and impact all 50 states. The issue threatens drinking water and wildlife and is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $2.2 billion annually.

Water Positive: Reflections on the Algal Bloom Crisis

National Geographic photographer Andy Mann visits U.S. watersheds to document the growing algal bloom crisis.

The three-part docuseries features Mann's perspective on the algae issue and captures stories of major watersheds impacted by algal blooms. Viewers will hear stories from farmers, fishermen, scientists, non-profit organizations, and families - all of whom are affected by and working toward a solution.

Water Positive: The Story of Lake Erie

Andy Mann connects with local farmers, fishermen, scientists, and families to understand how the algal blooms impact people and industry surrounding Lake Erie.

"When I visited these watersheds and started speaking with the people in the communities affected, I realized the severity of the algae bloom problem," said photographer Andy Mann. "I met parents afraid to give their children water to drink, fishermen losing businesses because the fish have left and scientists working around the clock to get ahead of the next bloom. I also uncovered stories of innovation and progress that gave me great hope that a solution is within reach."

The docuseries is the latest in an effort to create more visibility for challenges caused by harmful algae blooms and the work that is being done to solve for it. Last year on World Water Day, the Foundation announced that it would be the presenting sponsor of The George Barley Water Prize. The global competition, funded by the Everglades Foundation, will award $10 million to the organization that discovers a cost-effective way to remove phosphorus from freshwater and repurpose it for future use.

On World Water Day in 2011, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company announced it would remove phosphorus from its lawn fertilizer products, a decision that reduced the amount of phosphorus used by consumers by more than 10,000 tons annually. The Company also has increased its use of slow release nitrogen and taken steps to redesign spreaders and other application devices to minimize the potential for misuse and runoff.

Water Positive: The Story of the Long Island Sound
To help document the most troubled waterbodies in the U.S. and uncover how this crisis is affecting communities across the nation, the Foundation has worked collaboratively with Mann and his team of photographers for the past year, creating a series of short videos that will be distributed beginning today on social media and the Foundation’s website. Mann and his crew filmed several sites and conducted dozens of interviews in reporting on the issues affecting Lake Erie, Long Island Sound and the Chesapeake Bay.

"We're proud of the steps that our company has taken to improve the environment as well as the support that our foundation is providing to groups who share our goals," said Jim King, president of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. "Water is our world's most precious resource and it's everyone's job to protect it. Through the art of storytelling and the power of Andy's amazing videography, the goal of this series is to help the public better understand the magnitude of this issue and to shine a light on the world-class efforts that are underway to help solve it."

To view the full docuseries or learn more about water quality issues and solutions, visit Follow Andy Mann at

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