In Your Home
LYNGBYA BLOOMS have been occurring in Roebuck Bay in recent years, posing a serious threat to the Bay’s remarkable marine biodiversity. Local fishers report that fish avoid waters where Lyngbya is blooming and dugongs don’t feed on affected seagrass. Lyngbya impacts mud invertebrates that are essential food for fish and shorebirds. Direct physical contact with Lyngbya is a serious issue for people too, causing dermatitis and asthma-like symptoms. Piles of rotting black Lyngbya washed up on the shores of Roebuck Bay are not a good look either, as they are smelly and may need to be removed to minimise public health impacts.
THE CAUSE FOR LYNGBYA BLOOMS is likely to be run-off and polluted groundwater from Broome. Pollutants such as treated wastewater, fertiliser and garden waste enter the Bay directly through stormwater drains during the wet. Contaminants can enter the Bay indirectly too (fertiliser, sewage effluent), leaching through our soils into groundwater flowing under Broome to eventually, discharge into the Bay and Indian Ocean. These nutrients help Lyngbya grow and spread. Another contaminant that can help Lyngbya bloom is pindan, which contains iron and phosphate. Once washed into the Bay iron breaks down with sunlight and becomes food for Lyngbya. Whilst research is urgently needed to confirm the cause of Lyngbya blooms in our Bay, preventative actions are needed now.
How you can help – in your home
Use less water to reduce treated wastewater disposal on sports grounds that can seep or enter stormwater drains in heavy rain
Use phosphorous-free detergents labelled NP or P-FREE
Using phosphorous free detergents to wash your clothes, dishes, car and boat will reduce nutrients that are food for Lyngbya blooms in Roebuck Bay.
Pump septics and use phosphorous-free detergents
Get your septic pumped out when smelly or prior to the wet season to prevent seepage and overflow during heavy rain.
Dispose of chemicals properly
• With unused paint – let it dry out, put in bin, then wash brushes over sand or lawn.
• Minimise usage of dangerous chemicals.
• Make sure you have proper bunting and traps in case of chemical spills.
Use environmentally friendly cleaners that are Phosphorous Free
A list of environmentally-friendly cleaners is under development…
Compost or throw dog poo in the bin
Rotting dog poo is surprisingly high in nutrients.
Keep your rubbish in the bin
Make sure your rubbish stays in the bin, especially on windy days and during the wet season when it can be blown or washed into stormwater drains, then into Roebuck Bay.
Keep your car serviced
Keeping your car serviced helps to prevent oil dripping onto driveways and roads, and being washed into stormwater drains during rain.
Wash Cars and boats the Roebuck Bay Friendly Way and reduce polluted run-off entering the Bay through stormwater drains and feeding Lyngbya blooms.