Sunday, 14 June 2015

Golf courses aren't as green as you may think!

Golf courses are known for their pristine greens, never having a blade of grass yellow or a weed poking out. As you can imagine, it’s not just nature’s blessing, but they get a little help from fertilizer and pesticides. There are many environmental and ethical issues with the use of pesticides especially since there have been reports of chemical runoff into local water systems and contaminating both drinking water and wildlife habitats. (Malcom 2009) In 2013, a study was conducted on a Bahamian coral reef and found that due to the fertilizer from the sea side golf courses it has dramatically impacted the growth of algae. (Goreau 2013)

Firstly, I decided to do a little research on what fertilizer and pesticides were composed of to get a deeper understanding of the chemical breakdown. Fertilizer typically consists of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium elements which excel the growth rate of the vegetation. Pesticides consist of many dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, ammonia, benzene, chlorine, dioxins, ethylene oxide, methanol, and many other various substances to repel pests. (Tox Town 2015)
The contamination of the fertilizer into the coastal areas of Bakers Bay Golf Course in Guana Cay, Albaco resulted in new blooms of algae. (Goreau 2013) Although Bakers Bay insisted that it wasn’t their fault and that it was just natural caused by hurricanes or due to leakage form local sewage systems. (Goreau 2013) But after examination of water samples, there were traces of phosphorous in the water where it is normally limited in Guana Cay water, and the abundance is found near the golf course. 

The effect of an overgrowth of algae can result in an unbalanced and unhealthy ecosystem. This problem can be expected to be found in any tropical golf courses. To prevent this contamination, stronger water quality standards, monitoring, enforcement, improved fertilizer management, and planning controls would be needed. 
QOTD: So do you think that the environmental contamination is worth the luxury of a perfect putting green?  Should there be more laws preventing the construction of go courses near bodies of water, or just regulate the use of fertilizer and pesticides?

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