Australia’s raging fires will create big problems for fresh drinking water

National Geographic

Scientists warn that due to the current bushfire crisis in Australia and the charred debris that has been left as a result, we will see significant damage not only to marine wildlife but also to our water supply here in Sydney.  For many weeks, ash, soot, and blackened gum tree leaves have collected along the shorelines of Sydney’s beaches, clogging the waves and lapping in the tide. Originating in fires blazing in forested areas to the west, the debris has been carried on the breeze along with the pungent bushfire smoke that blanketed Australia’s largest city for much of December,” writes journalist John Pickrell.


Dr Katherine Dafforn, Deputy Director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program here at SIMS, commented specifically on the mobilisation of mercury in runoff caused by the fires. ““Higher concentrations of mercury have been found in fish from lakes in burned catchments compared to reference catchments,” she says, with potential impacts for human health if fish at the top of the food chain are eaten.


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