Florida’s Getting Swamped by Deadly Red Algae

“I can’t describe the smell. It’s like unbelievable.”

Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times via AP

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This story was originally published by HuffPost. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency on Monday as a months-long red tide continues to spread throughout the region’s waters, killing hundreds of turtles and sickening people in coastal communities.

The red tide―a harmful bloom of algae that occurs naturally―began last year and has spread through the Gulf of Mexico, now spanning some 150 miles. Fish and other wildlife have been washing up dead on beaches throughout Florida, including more than 300 sea turtles, manatees and even a whale shark that may have been killed by the phenomenon.

“I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide so we can combat its terrible impacts,” Scott said in a statement on Monday.

The declaration will provide $1.5 million in emergency funding and make state scientists available to help with clean-up efforts and animal rescues.

The bloom of algae began last October and extends from Naples to the Everglades region, with no sign of slowing down. Residents have reported some negative health effects, including eye, nose and throat irritation, due to the vapors released by the red tide, according to the Washington Post.

“I can’t describe the smell. It’s like unbelievable,” Alex Kuizon, a resident of Bradenton Beach, told the Associated Press last week. “It makes you throw up.”

More than 100 tons of dead fish have been removed from area beaches, NPR reports, and officials say they’re worried about the tide’s impact on tourism.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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