Image: NASA

Image: NASA

New satellite images of the algae blooms taking over waterways in Florida have recently been released, showing a 500 percent increase in the amount of water the algae has affected in just two short months.

According to the Florida Oceanographic Society, the blooms in and near Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida have grown from 22 square miles in early May to a current estimate of 239 square miles.

The growing algae blooms, which have resulted in a state emergency for four Floridian counties, are primarily caused by fertilizer runoff from the surrounding farming communities, adding a buildup of Nitrogen and Phosphorous. With this, algae grows and reduces the oxygen levels in the water, which kills aquatic life and can be poisonous to humans.

Earlier this year, we talked to past ECS President Daniel Scherson about the often unrecognized issues related to algae blooms.