What is Algae Good Or Bad For the Environment?

algae on beach rocks
algae on beach rocks (click here for original source image)

What is Algae, exactly?

It is a form of microorganisms that can make food from waste materials such as cellulose, which is the by-product of wood and paper production. However, If these wastes are not removed from the landfills immediately and properly treated, they can have an environmental impact. In fact, over 50% of landfill waste is comprised of micro-organisms. Is Algae good or bad for the environment?

Good – Algae is good for the environment because it aids in the recycling of waste. The process of composting allows for the decomposition of organic materials. This compost is in turn made into fertilizer and soil revitalization for the use of plants and crops. Without micro-organisms, there would be no energy produced from the compost. Also, the breakdown of waste allows for the release of methane and carbon dioxide, which can help reduce global warming.

Bad – There are some negative effects to Algae Waste if it is not handled properly. There is the release of methane and carbon dioxide during digestion. Additionally, the nitrogen cycle is interrupted and the result is higher levels of nitrate contamination in lakes and rivers. This in turn can lead to severe biological damages to aquatic systems. These negative environmental impacts are not caused by the growth itself but by the lack of effective waste management.

So, is Algae good or bad for the environment? The answer is both “good” and “bad”. The reason being that the benefits of Algae-based waste disposal outweigh the negative environmental impact. However, one must also understand the limitations of this process.