Reducing Harmful Green-Algae Blooms Is Crucial to Protecting Aquatic Life

Algae blooms are essential in maintaining a healthy body of water and a great deal of attention has been brought to them in the past number of years. This is because of the harmful impact they can have on the environment, human health, aquatic life and animals. Not all algae blooms are harmful. It is crucial to know which ones are so we can create strategies to ensure our environment and all the beings living on it are protected. Keeping our waters clean is ever more important. We use water for everything from cooking to drinking to cleaning and much more.

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae is a kind of bacteria known as cyanobacteria. It is naturally occurring and a component found in freshwater environments. It’s considered crucial for maintaining a healthy body of water because it produces oxygen. Not to mention, it’s also a source of nutrition for particular marine animals. Responding to certain conditions, Blue-green algae could undergo a population explosion known as blooms.

These conditions involve slow or still-flowing water, warm days with lots of sun and high amounts of nutrients, in particular phosphorus and nitrogen. These blooms occur under natural conditions. Blue-green algal blooms can have an appearance similar to that of spilled green paint or pea soup and are not always uniform. They can sometimes be small and cover less of a lake with visible algae present. Blue-green algal blooms are also not always dense and large. When the cells break down, they create a swamp-like odour.

What’s the problem with algae blooms?

Areas where aquatic creatures are unable to survive due to low oxygen levels are known as dead zones. Generally dead zones are caused by substantial nutrient pollution. Primarily, they are an issue for lakes, bays and coastal water because they are provided with additional nutrients from upstream sources.

The additional phosphorus and nitrogen results in overgrowth of algae and this occurs in just a short period of time (algae blooms). They block sunlight and consume oxygen from the underwater plants. Once the algae finally dies, the oxygen within the water is consumed. Since the oxygen is widely reduced, this makes it very challenging for aquatic creatures to live.

The biggest dead zone within the United States, for example, is the Gulf of Mexico. It is roughly 6,500 square miles and occurs each summer. This is as a direct result of the nutrient pollution that occurs in the Mississippi River Basin.

Some of these algae blooms are known as harmful algal blooms. These blooms are considerably large and produce toxins or chemicals. They typically occur in reservoirs, ponds, bays, rivers, coastal waters and lakes.

Beyond the threats to water quality and aquatic life, algae blooms also have implications for humans, other animals and the environment. When they occur, they interfere with other uses of the water. This can impact human health and has implications for the economy and the planet. They impact water quality by creating unpleasant odours and tastes in addition to scum and discolouration.

It can also be toxic. In other words, contact with large amounts of blue-green algae can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. In serious situations, they can damage the human nervous system and liver. Exposure to blue-green algae blooms has been linked to the death of livestock, pets and wildlife.

As the bloom becomes less intense, decaying and dead algae can lower oxygen levels within the water. This has a direct effect on aquatic animals, causing them to experience stress or could even result in fatalities. During times of drought, algae blooms can severely degrade aquatic ecosystems.

Not all algae blooms are deemed harmful. Some examples of harmful algal blooms that pose implications for aquatic ecosystems, human health and the economy include red tides, cyanobacteria and blue-green algae.

What actions can I take to prevent being harmed by algae blooms?

There are a number of actions you can take to protect yourself from the impacts of green-blue algae blooms. Firstly, if you come into contact with this kind of algae, you should wash your skin thoroughly afterwards. In addition, you should steer clear from using untreated river or lake water for cooking, drinking or brushing your teeth. Many treatment steps are required to remove algae toxins. Therefore, a simple treatment will not cut it. The water could be contaminated and cause irritation to the skin. Another way to prevent yourself from being harmed by algae blooms is to not eat fish from these algae-laden waters.

Is there a way to get rid of harmful algae blooms?

There is no way to fully remove blue-green algae from lakes. This is because while they are harmful, they are an essential component of the overall algal community. Rather than thinking about ways to remove them, we need to think about how to control the frequency and intensity of harmful algae blooms. Controlling the water temperature is out of our means. Therefore, the best action we can take is to lower the number of nutrients that enter these waters. Lowering the nitrogen and phosphorus levels within man-made sources is one of the best ways to accomplish this. This reduction will not occur overnight, but taking this approach is the best long-term solution to lowering the intensity of frequency of these blooms.

A solution does exist

Toxic algae blooms are a global issue and they are accelerating at a frightening rate in our rivers, lakes, reservoirs and oceans. The results of these blooms in our waters can be extreme. They are wiping out aquatic life, threatening human and animal health and our planet. Not to mention, they are impacting local communities and industries like tourism and fishing. While there is no way to entirely eradicate these blooms, we can work to control them. There are actions we can take as individuals to protect our own health. Not to mention, there are also ways we can reduce the intensity and frequency of these blooms by reducing the phosphorus and nitrogen levels in man-made sources.

RanMarine Technology created the world’s first autonomous data harvesting surface vessel to be deployed commercially, known as DataShark. Focussing on collecting and collating water quality health data from waterways in any environment the DataShark is capable of multiple sensor configurations, real-time data logging with GPS tagging.

DataShark can be configured with different sensors to help monitor temperature, depth, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, blue-green algae, crude, refined oils and more. Any data you collect is immediately available for reporting and analysis through the WasteShark Data Portal.

Whether you run a smart city, water district or an organization, the DataShark helps ensure that data collection is quick and accurate ensuring our waters are safe for everyone.

These drones look for trash in waterways

In a river in the Danish city of Århus, a small machine called the WasteShark now autonomously sails through the water collecting trash, bringing it to shore, and then recharging itself. Soon, a drone will begin flying through the air to help: Using a special lens that collects data to be crunched by a machine learning algorithm, that drone can identify pieces of plastic or other garbage and direct the sailing drone to pick them up. The system can also identify oil spills, which the WasteShark can help clean up with a special filter.

“We’re testing a technology that can be scaled in a lot of different ways,” says Martin Skjold Grøntved, a special consultant for the Danish Climate Ministry. While the small trash-eating drone isn’t new, the addition of the flying drone makes it possible to find more garbage more quickly. The sailing drone also hasn’t been used to clean up oil spills in the past, because without the drone overhead scanning the water, it wouldn’t be able to identify the oil.

he tech startup Kinetica worked with the agency to provide a data platform, running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, that makes the trash detection algorithm run quickly. This isn’t the first time they’ve helped equip drones to detect trash. Kinetica also worked with the nonprofit San Francisco Estuary Institute to test another project that uses drones to track how much waste is entering waterways to help understand how well waste-prevention efforts are working. In the past, that data was difficult to gather at a large scale. “Resources are limited, and city programs have only so much to put towards these efforts,” says Tony Hale, program director for environmental informatics at the San Francisco Estuary Institute. “Nonprofits have only so many people to put towards these efforts. And it’s a very time-intensive process to go out and just do the cleanups, first of all, let alone to count the amount of trash and then characterize it by certain categories. What this drone-based and machine learning-based method offers is a way to expand the geography.”

Read the full article by Fast Company – article

The Health of our Waters and Innovations to Protect Them

If we had to ask ourselves if we were doing enough to protect our waters, we’d have to admit to some pretty hard truths. Because really, all it takes is one glance around the globe to see that we need to be doing a lot more to understand, measure, and manage our waters, and we need to be doing it now.

The toxic algae bloom, for example, is a global issue we’re facing on an alarming scale in our oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Sludgy, smelly, and hazardous, when toxic algae bloom out of control and release toxins, the results can be devastating.

Harmful algae blooms (HAB) have been known to last up to 14 months, wiping out all kinds of marine life in their path, including dolphins, sea turtles, and other wildlife, posing potentially dangerous health impacts for local communities, and devastating industries such as fishing and tourism.

Read our blog: Reducing Harmful Green-Algae Blooms Is Crucial to Protecting Aquatic Life

But release a DataShark into your waters and you can learn everything you need to know to help you protect your precious water resources both now, and in the future. An innovation from award-winning RanMarine Technology, the DataShark is the world’s first data harvesting autonomous surface vessel (ASV) to be commercially deployed in the fight against pollution and scourges like algae blooms.

The DataShark shares its design inspiration with RanMarine’s game-changing WasteShark. Both modelled on Mother Nature’s own whale shark, RanMarine’s WasteShark scoops up marine waste, biomass, and plastic, while the DataShark collects and collates water quality health data from waterways in any environment.

Freshwater ecosystems in particular, require effective management in order to remain healthy and function properly. Freshwater is indispensable for life on our planet, supports the environment, society, recreation, and the economy, and yet it is increasingly under threat.

In addition to the growing demand of freshwater for human purposes, the effects of climate change are also exacerbating changes, manifesting in ever more frequent and severe extreme events and disasters such as drought and floods. This in turn undermines the ability of freshwater ecosystems to contribute to both climate change adaptation, and mitigation.

Whether it’s freshwater or saltwater environments, a large water body, or small, RanMarine’s DataShark is user-friendly and easily integrated into any work environment or field operation. It only takes a one-person team to operate this intelligent aqua-drone and capture GPS tagged data points. In fact, signing into RanMarine’s secure customer web-portal would allow you to operate and manage your drones from anywhere in the world.

With 10-hours of battery life, and a typical range of 10 km, the DataShark harvests data which is captured through the RanMarine Data portal, and reported in both graph and raw format in real-time – and stored for analysis. All data is geo-tagged and time stamped, giving an accurate picture of the water quality health within your ecosystem.

Each DataShark drone can be equipped with a variety of water health quality sensors and probes. Partnering with Eureka Water Probes, RanMarine has designed its drones to facilitate the data harvesting of numerous data points including temperature, pH, conductivity, optical DO, turbidity (with optional depth and ORP), nitrogen, and toxic algae (blue/green) levels – with many other vital options configurable on request.

And the options are vital, because even something as apparently simple as a change in water temperature can have a negative impact on ecosystems. The temperature of the water influences not just the biological activity and growth of aquatic life – life that cannot survive when temperatures rise or fall too far beyond the ideal range – but it also has an effect on the water chemistry itself. Generally, the higher the temperatures, the more the chemical reactions increase. Warm water also holds less dissolved oxygen than cool water, which means there may not be enough dissolved oxygen for various aquatic species to survive.

Another apparently simple yet vital data point is the pH level of your water. For example, heavy metals dissolve much easier in acidic water and can become more toxic as a result. But even the slightest change in pH can be detrimental to aquatic life. Just a small shift can affect the gills of fish and diving insects, the hatching success of fish eggs, as well as the amphibian populations. When the shift in pH is even greater, water with an extremely high or low pH can be deadly for fish and animals.

Changes in pH and temperature can also point to the growth of algae.

Richard Hardiman, CEO of RanMarine Technology says, ‘Especially in the 21st century, the monitoring of water quality has become imperative in order to measure the effectiveness of current water policies, to better protect human health as well as the overall environment and economy, and to prevent events such as fish deaths, the loss of recreational use of water bodies, and to, when necessary, plan restoration projects.’

And we now have some compelling technology to help us protect the waters across our planet. With RanMarine’s data-harvesting DataShark and its intelligent aqua-drone twin, the waste-devouring WasteShark, the company remains steadfast in its goal to empower humankind to restore the marine environment to its natural state.

How this autonomous water-robot is turning the heads around by cleaning water-bodies efficiently!

The prevalence of autonomous water-robots is no secret nowadays, but the problem of water pollution still remains unaddressed. It all comes down to the integration of technology, efficiency and sustainability of such products to deal with a holistic problem in a comprehensive way. This is where WasteShark, one of its kind water-robot, is turning the heads around with its efficient and credible make-up.

Developed by RanMarine, WasteShark comes with excellent features and capabilities. The water-robot can clear up to 500 kgs of debris each day, backed by a swim time of around 10 hours. WasteShark is a unique product that floats across the water surface with its mouth wide open, collecting trash to make the water body pollution-free. The best thing about this water-robot is that it doesn’t harm the marine life as the shark-like vehicle gently motors along the oceans, lakes and ponds.

RanMarine is known for designing industrial autonomous surface vessels for ports, harbors and other marine and water environments. However, WasteShark has emerged as the company’s best product as it has been deployed across various countries, offering result-oriented solutions. On the back of such innovative products, the company has also attracted funding from Boundary Holding, a Rajat Khare-led global investment firm.

Water pollution has been a huge problem, especially with heaps of plastic waste piling up on the surface of the water bodies, causing danger to both marine and human lives. The authorities have been longing for a comprehensive solution to deal with the issue of water pollution. RanMarine’s WasteShark has come up as a complete product for the private and government entities looking for a durable and affordable solution to clean up water bodies in an effective manner.

Read the full article by Tech News Vision article

Meet the Zayed Sustainability Prize finalists for start-ups

Ten candidates across five categories will be announced as 2020 winners on Monday.  This Monday, 10 candidates from a total of 30 finalists will be announced as winners of the 2020 Zayed Sustainability Prize.  The major international award now covers five categories, including health, food, energy and water. Education is addressed through its ‘global high schools’ category.  This year, finalists include start-ups which have developed technologies to combat plastic waste and the spread of disease, as well as improving access to clean electricity.  The winners will be chosen from across all categories and will each be awarded $600,000 (Dh2.2 million). Here, The National takes a closer look at some of those in contention.

RanMarine Technology

Category: Water
What they do: Remove unwanted plastic and rubbish from waterways
Where: Globally

Plastic pollution has undeniably had a devastating impact on our oceans. For years, marine life and habitats have suffered. Today, however, one social enterprise is doing its bit to restore the health of beaches, canals and rivers around the world.

RanMarine Technology invented the WasteShark, an autonomous drone which swims through water while clearing waste materials including plastics, oil, toxic algae and invasive plants.

The robot works by sucking up unwanted debris and collecting environmental data to understand changes to water quality. Its designers say it poses no threat to animals, emits no light or noise pollution and produces zero carbon or greenhouse emissions. “We chose to target this particular global issue because we love the ocean,” Oliver Cunningham, co-founder of the enterprise told The National. “It is not only the source of all life on Earth, it is also a thing of immeasurable natural beauty and fun. “We believe that building smarter, cleaner, more efficient cities is the key to ensuring that humans can live sustainably and happily on Earth.

Read the full article by UAE article

RanMarine Technology Appoints Drone Solutions its South East Asia Distributor

Ranmarine Technology last week announced its appointment of Drone Solutions as its Distributor in South East Asia.

Chief Executive Officer of RanMarine Technology Richard Hardiman said, “The addition of Drone Solutions to professionally represent our interests in South East Asia greatly enhances our technical and customer service, local support and product training capability and efficiency in the region.”

The Executive Director of Drone Solutions Gianluca Salone, noted “our ability to offer Ranmarine’s state-of- the-art environmentally responsible WasteShark solutions which effectively cleans inland and coastal waters of water born debris, microplastics and hazardous oil and chemicals is a great step forward in our fight against senseless water waste pollution enabling Smart Cities.”

RanMarine Technology™ is a drone technology company from The Netherlands which specializes in developing and selling remote controlled and autonomous drones called Sharks that swim through water, extracting unwanted material and gathering data about the marine environment.

The company markets and sells three distinctive products, which have zero greenhouse emissions and act as intelligent tools to cleaning our waters.

The WasteShark® will eat plastics and other litter; detect chemicals in the water; extract alien and pest vegetation.

The DataShark™ which includes the same functionality as the WasteShark is also a learning machine continually collecting data about the marine environment.

Read the full article by Inside Unmanned Systems article