SAVE THE REEF: Reduced land runoff could help preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
SAVE THE REEF: Reduced land runoff could help preserve the Great Barrier Reef. Cruise Whitsundays

Fertiliser initiative to target run-off

QUEENSLAND-based company AlgaEnviro has developed an initiative that seeks to reduce pollution in the Great Barrier Reef by targeting surface run-off.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science reported that increased run-off of sediment, nutrients and contaminants was responsible for lowering coastal water quality and marine ecosystem health, particularly in the Great Barrier Reef.

AlgaEnviro has developed a micro-nutrient fertiliser that balances out polluting levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, two chemicals affecting water health. The correct balance encourages the growth of diatom algae, which converts polluting chemicals into food for marine life before they can pollute the reef, maximising ecosystem growth.

Less polluting land run-off results in fewer crown-of- thorns starfish that feed on reef coral.

AlgaEnviro co-founder

Dr Simon Tannock explained their product, Diatomix, was "similar to a multivitamin or supplement” for the environment.

"I'm looking for farmers to use it to reduce the nutrients on their farms and in the rivers before it gets to the reef, rather than change any of that reef ecology, which is very sensitive,” he said.

Dr Tannock said AlgaEnviro could help cane farmers, and farmers in general, to reduce their surface run-off by identifying the percentage of nutrients in the water at each site.

"We're not a poison or big engineering expense, we're just saying give this a tweak and let nature take over and do what nature does really well,” Dr Tannock said.



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