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Environmental Monitoring


May 2016 Issue

CMFDA Testing
Of PureBallast

Following the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) decision not to accept the most probable number (MPN) method in assessing ballast water treatment systems, tests of Alfa Laval PureBallast are underway using the USCG-approved 5 chloromethylfluorescein diacetate (CMFDA) staining method. With completion expected during the second quarter of 2016, the tests will enable a new USCG type approval application after receiving the results.

In mid-December 2015, the USCG issued its decision that the MPN method is not equivalent to the CMFDA staining method stipulated by the USCG Ballast Water Discharge Final Rule. This nullifies previous type approval applications of UV-based ballast water treatment systems submitted on the basis of the MPN method.

The decision applies solely to the MPN method and does not disqualify UV-based systems from USCG type approval.

Though U.S. ballast water regulations took effect in 2012, no systems of any technology have yet been type approved by the USCG. Meanwhile, the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention is edging closer to implementation. Following recent ratifications by Belgium and Fiji, which bring the combined gross tonnage of ratifying countries to 34.8 percent, only 0.2 percent more is required to make global ballast water treatment requirements a reality.

Bubbles Could Protect
Coastal Life

Blowing tiny bubbles through seawater could help protect coral reefs and oyster farms from increasingly acidic oceans by stripping carbon dioxide from coastal marine environments and transferring it to the atmosphere, according to Stanford scientists.

The technique could provide a relatively inexpensive solution to one of the biggest threats facing coral reefs today. An estimated 30 to 60 percent of all the coral reefs have died since the Industrial Revolution as the oceans absorb more carbon dioxide and become increasingly acidic. Ocean acidification harms a variety of marine organisms, especially those that use calcium carbonate to assemble their skeletons and shells, such as coral, mussels and oysters.

Worldwide, coral reefs provide an estimated $30 billion net economic benefit each year. A healthy coral reef provides a home to thousands of organisms, which island subsistence communities rely on for the bulk of their diet. A reef’s presence can quell the waves whipped up by a surging storm, thereby guarding low-lying coastal towns from flooding.

The new study demonstrated that bubbling air through seawater for a few hours in the early morning can enhance the transfer rate of carbon dioxide from the ocean to the air to 30 times faster than natural processes.

The bubbles spur coral growth by reducing carbon dioxide levels in the water in the predawn hours when the oceans are most acidic, drawing the gas out of the seawater and transferring it to the atmosphere. If the bubbles have lower concentrations of carbon dioxide than the surrounding water, the gas will diffuse into the bubbles. Compressors, which could be charged by solar power in the tropics, can create the bubbles.

Community-Based Project
In Bayou La Batre

The City of Bayou La Batre, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program have teamed up to remove 21 abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) and other marine debris from the waters of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. They are also actively restoring marsh habitat, approximately 19,300 sq. ft., in the Bayou and leading community outreach to prevent future derelict vessels and marine debris. This project runs through July 2016.

ADVs are a problem in Bayou La Batre, mostly due to owners that have abandoned their vessels. They create serious navigational hazards and ecological threats by scarring and damaging the surrounding habitat, as well as creating fields of debris as the hulls, riggings, insulation and other materials decay. ADVs can also contain hazardous materials, such as oil, paints and lubricants, which can leak into and pollute the surrounding environment.

The ADVs to be removed from the Bayou range from a fiberglass skiff to an 80-ft. barge.

To prevent future abandonment of vessels and marine litter, the project partners are also implementing a public awareness and outreach campaign to educate the local community about proper mooring practices and vessel disposal options. Outreach materials also target local high schools and middle schools to educate them on the impacts of marine debris.

Mauritius Teen Wins
Wetlands Photo Contest

Mevish Purmaissur, 17, from Mauritius is the winner of the World Wetlands Day Youth Photo Contest for his photo depicting a fisherman at work, which captured the contest’s theme “Wetlands for Our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods.” He won a trip to visit a wetland of his choice anywhere in the world, courtesy of Star Alliance Biosphere Connections.

“I had decided to look for some pictures of people earning their living in wetlands,” Purmaissur said. “So, one day I went to Mont Choisy, and a man carrying two fish caught my eye, and I took the photo. My grandfather was a fisherman, and therefore I was motivated to use the example of a fisherman, who earns his living only in wetlands.”

Over 500 photographs from young people (15-24) were entered into the contest, depicting livelihoods such as fishing, water transport, ecotourism and the craft industry.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the global framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Each member state designates at least one site of high value to the country and the world. There are currently more than 2,200 Wetlands of International Importance, known as Ramsar Sites.

Editor's update: After this issue went to press, Mevish Purmaissur was disqualified due to the photograph not being his work; it is the original work of Bamba Sourang, a professional photographer from Senegal. A new winner of the Wetlands Youth Photo Contest will be chosen.


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