An Op-Ed written by Jaclyn Lopez and originally published in The Orlando Sentinel on June 18, 2019

Like a summer rerun of “The Return of Swamp Thing,” Floridians re-awakened in recent days to our own annual horror show: The return of highly toxic blue-green algae.

But unlike some imaginary creature rising from the Everglades, the putrid, wildlife-killing sludge that produces toxins now linked to liver disease and everything from Alzheimer’s to ALS and Parkinson’s is a very real monster of our own making.

We know a lot about the things that play an outsized role in triggering our recurring toxic nightmare.

We know the diked waters of the once-free-flowing Lake Okeechobee provide an unnatural breeding ground for blue-green algae to feed on our own pollution, including waste from leaky septic tanks and run-off of nitrogen and phosphate agricultural fertilizers.

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