Harmful algal blooms, typically caused by excess phosphorus, pollute freshwater in more than 15,000 waterways in the U.S. and impact all 50 states. The issue threatens drinking water and wildlife and is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $2.2 billion annually. Those are the sobering topline facts, and that’s just as of today—the problem is growing worse, rapidly. With water scarcity becoming a larger issue for business and the general population alike, dealing with this pollution is becoming more urgent.
To raise awareness of the global environmental and economic challenges caused by harmful algal blooms in fresh waterbodies, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation has released a three-part docuseries with National Geographic photographer Andy Mann, to coincide with World Water Day.
To help document the most troubled waterbodies in the U.S., and uncover how this crisis is affecting communities across the nation, the Foundation has worked with Mann and his team of photographers for the past year, creating a series of short videos that will be distributed beginning today on social media and the Foundation’s website.
The three-part docuseries captures stories of major watersheds impacted by algal blooms. Viewers will hear stories from farmers, fishermen, scientists, non-profit organizations, and families – all of whom are affected by and working toward a solution.
“When I visited these watersheds and started speaking with the people in the communities affected, I realized the severity of the algae bloom problem,” said photographer Andy Mann. "I met parents afraid to give their children water to drink, fishermen losing businesses because the fish have left and scientists working around the clock to get ahead of the next bloom. I also uncovered stories of innovation and progress that gave me great hope that a solution is within reach.”
“We’re proud of the steps that our company has taken to improve the enviroment as well as the support that our foundation is providing to groups who share our goals,” said Jim King, president of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. “Water is our world’s most precious resource and it’s everyone’s job to protect it. Through the art of storytelling and the power of Andy’s amazing videography, the goal of this series is to help the public better understand the magnitude of this issue and to shine a light on the world-class efforts that are underway to help solve it.”
Photo: Miracle-Gro Foundation