Ocean fertilization picked apart

Published: Saturday 15 December 2007

Environmental groups have condemned an Australian company's plan to dump tonnes of urea into Philippine waters as part of an experiment called ocean fertilization to combat climate change.

The coalition has written to the Philippines government and demanded the experiment be stopped until all scientific issues on the claims are resolved. The Ocean Nourishment Corporation recently dumped a tonne of urea into the Sulu sea and plans to dump another 1,000 tonnes of fertilizers. The company claims that urea mixed with sea water, when released into barren areas of the ocean, stimulates phytoplankton growth. These algae will not only absorb co2 from the atmosphere and help combat climate change, but also boost fish stocks. But green groups say this will also benefit harmful algae, which will bloom rapidly and suffocate marine life. Besides, the technology's impact on marine ecosystem is largely contested.

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