I have to say this searing hot weather has been great. We have just finished the hottest year on record.

Now whilst lovely for going to the beach - aside from the concern about what will happen if the globe heats up too much - the heat also creates conditions for environmental problems that are really quite nasty.

Two of the things I love to do in summer is swim in freshwater lakes and collect shellfish from the coastline.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council recently confirmed that the previously pristine Lake Tarawera now has potentially toxic blue-green algae.


This foul slime grows when there are too many nutrients in the waterways and the heat helps it too. Nutrients are pollutants that come largely from agriculture, deforestation of areas around waterways (the shade of trees cools down the water) and other pollution sources such as greenwaste and animal faeces (particularly dogs and ducks) that happens in urban centres.

When I harassed my mother for feeding the ducks in Wellington, she took some offence to it and (along with my wife) accused me of being the duck police. My retort involved a description of what happened when in my younger (and stupider) years during university I decided it would be a good idea to get into the Avon River and suffered a serious bout of duck rash. These exotic birds had contributed to the river being a polluted cesspit.

The fact is - it is better not to feed the ducks, because they defecate in our water. Their stool is loaded with nutrients that make our water and our people sick.

When the algal blooms reach the coastal area, we end up with poisoned shellfish and thousands of people miss out on being able to grab a few green-lipped mussels during their summer holidays.

These issues obviously aren't just caused by feeding your local ducks some stale bread, but the shellfish closures certainly do appear to be occurring more frequently. Does anyone have something to say about the shellfish closures? What should be done about this?