MANILA — The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), an attached agency of the environment department, on Tuesday said it is monitoring a possible overgrowth of blue-green algae during the onset of El Niño.
The proliferation of blue-green algae, locally known as liya, can complicate water filtration systems and cause fish kill in the water basin that supplies 80 percent of the milkfish and tilapia requirements of Metro Manila, LLDA department manager Jun Paul Mistica said.
“It’s a natural food supply available sa mga isda. Pagkain nila ito,” he told reporters.
“Ito’y nagpapabilis sa paglaki ng isda, kaya lang to a certain extent lamang. 'Pag masyadong marami, ito ay nagkakaroon ng fish kill,” he said.
(It is a natural food supply available to fish. It's their food. It accelerates the growth of fish to a certain extent only. If there is too much, it can cause fish kill.)
The blue-green algae consumes oxygen as it decomposes, and when there is too much decomposing algae in the lake, the oxygen in the water dwindles and causes fish kill, he said.
Mistica said the algae, which contains fluoride and other substances, also makes it harder for facilities to treat water and make it suitable for human use and consumption.
“Kapag ito ay dumami… delikado din ito sa domestic water supply kasi ang isa sa pinakamahirap i-treat is fluoride,” he said.
“Quality ang problema, 'yung volume is there,” he added.
(When it multiplies... It is also dangerous for domestic water supply because one of the hardest to treat is fluoride. Quality is the problem, the volume is there.)
The odor emitted by the “liya”, similar to the smell of mud, could also pose health risks to those living in lakeshore communities, the LLDA official said.
“Maamoy mo lang, nagkakaroon na ng lung problems,” he said, citing incidents from nearby communities in past years.
(Even with just a sniff it can cause lung problems.)
So far, the LLDA has yet to monitor alarming levels of the blue-green algae in Laguna Lake, but the agency is set to deploy some 173 solar-powered paddle wheels to prevent the growth of the harmful organisms, Mistica said.
“Idi-disturb niya 'yung water, ia-agitate niya 'yung pag-form ng algae,” he said.
(They will disturb the water, they're going to agitate the formation of algae.)
The agency may have to procure 100 more paddle wheels should the volume of wilting blue-green algae spike due to El Niño, he said.
The LLDA is also developing a system that will allow individuals to monitor the water quality in Laguna Lake through a mobile app, he added.