The algae found in Galician shellfish producing areas could be used as fertilisers. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Algae to be used as fertiliser
Friday, September 10, 2010, 16:10 (GMT + 9)
The Poio City Council, in Galicia, have launched a pilot project to convert algae taken from shellfish banks in the bottom of the Pontevedra river, into compost to regenerate burnt forests.
The initiative seeks to capitalise on the proliferation of algae that undermines the production of clams and cockles, using them to restore areas devastated by forest fires and also to fertilise public gardens and private properties.
The pilot test was conducted at a mound in Camiño Real, in the parish of Combarro.
The algae were collected in shellfish banks and beaches on the river and then converted into compost effectively and in a sustainable manner, both environmentally and economically.
According to the Councilman of the Poio Environment, Gregory Agis, the initiative is to treat the algae with a special fluid that accelerates the process of decomposition, resulting in fertilizer.
The official said that it was necessary to wait for another three months or so to know whether "the fertiliser has the necessary quality that we want and need."
As a first step, they collected four tonnes of algae, reports the newspaper El Mundo.
Agis explained how there is a larger volume of algae due to increasing water temperatures and other meteorogical factors.
"Last year, we arrived at a beach resort and in a single day collected 18 truck loads, which was around 110 tonnes of algae, and this year there should be even more" he said.
If the project is successful and results in good quality compost, the municipality of Poio would use it to fertilize gardens and municipal parks, and to regenerate areas affected by forest fires.
"We've consulted with technicians and they have told us that it is also good for this use," said the official.
"The team from the company which advises us in the matter, also believe that the algae will have many nutrients which will result in good quality compost," he continued.
Moreover, unprocessed algae of a poor quality which could be discharged in the scrubland would "create a layer that is dried and is harmful to the environment, as when it rains, it would run off the ground and into local rivers, which would pollute the water."
If in a few months it is found that the fertiliser is not of high quality, they "would have to find another solution" as "you can not take it on the scrubland in an indiscriminate way."
By Analia Murias