The acidification of the oceans has been increasing at an alarming rate as carbon dioxide released into the air alters the chemistry of the oceans. But Washington State isn’t taking it lying down. In order to combat acidification, which impacts the state’s vital shellfish industry, the state is launching a 3.3-million dollar plan.
Since 1750, the average acidity of the oceans has increased by 30-percent. This increase shows a direct correlation to the increase in carbon dioxide released into the air, which eventually dissolves and makes it way into the world’s oceans. Washington has experienced greater than average acidification because of farm run-off in the area and seasonal ocean currents. The result is a disaster for the Washington shellfish industry because acidic oceans cause the shells that protect the shellfish to dissolve.
To help address this, the state will implement improved monitoring in order to track trends, as part of a 42-step plan, in addition to steps that will aid in forecasting acidic conditions so that the state can be ready to combat the effects – this includes using sea grasses to help soak up the carbon dioxide. The plan also includes steps to reduce carbon emissions, but until the rest of the globe does the same, the state can really only make a minor impact.