Oyster hatcheries put heartburn meds in the water to fight ocean acidification
Taylor Shellfish Company, an oyster hatchery in Quilcene, Wash., is trying to combat ocean acidification by putting a sodium carbonate solution in the water. First having drugs in the water was bad, and now it’s … good? Jeez, Nature, MAKE UP YOUR MIND.
Oyster hatcheries are dropping the equivalent of Tums and other antacids into water to make it easier for naked mollusk larvae to build their shells… [O]cean waters [are] turning ever more corrosive as they absorb a fraction of the carbon dioxide humans are pumping into the atmosphere. The acidification, in turn, makes it harder for oyster larvae to build their shells.
So we create pollution, oceans get acidic, and the solution is not to push for businesses and people to cut their emissions (or eat fewer oysters), but to dump some heartburn meds in the water? Right. How could THAT go wrong? (Coming up next: How multivitamins can stop the NSA from reading your email.)
Marine ecologist George Waldbusser earns today’s “YA THINK?” award for admitting it’s a less-than-perfect solution:
“Ultimately, at some point,” he added, “they have to be able to address the bigger global CO2 problem.”
Hopefully sooner rather than later.