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It's "Summer Slime Season" in Florida



April 25, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The familiar sight of green waterways has some residents and environmentalists seeing red in Florida.

The "summer slime" visible in Florida's water is toxic algae - caused, according to scientists by industrial pollution, sewage, manure and fertilizer.

While many Floridians are aware of the slime, a television campaign launched this week hopes to educate them on where it comes from and what can be done about it.

Monica Reimer, an Earthjustice attorney, says she won't swim in Florida waterways anymore because she "knows too much."

"People need to just learn that they can't really use the waters like they used to - and to me, that's just shocking. I grew up in Florida. I think people assume they can go to the beach."

The algae appears in Florida's waterways as temperatures rise. The ad encourages Floridians to write to President Obama and demand that the Environmental Protection Agency step in and fully enforce the Clean Water Act in the state.

As a native Floridian, Reimer says she's concerned that people may be too accepting of the annual summer slime, because it's all they remember.

"This isn't normal. This isn't natural. This is the result of lax regulation and over-fertilization."

A few weeks ago, an early "summer slime" outbreak in the Fort Myers area prompted the Lee County Health Department to issue a warning for people to avoid contact with waterways in the county, just as the beach season is beginning.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL