Foul, putrescent rivers teeming with wildlife

Went for a bike ride this morning along the Keelung River and, as always, rode past the vile, nasty smelling water that no sane person would jump into and marveled at all the fish jumping (saw at least a couple dozen splashes), black masses of fish congregated by a drainpipe (many dozens of large fish there, possibly over a hundred), birds dive-bombing for fish, egrets, herons and bitterns wading in the river looking for prey, a giant turtle sunning on a rock, etc.

It seems strange. I’m sure I saw many more creatures than I would’ve seen if I’d ridden past a pristine river in the mountains back home. Maybe less diversity (maybe), but certainly more creatures here. But there can be no question the water is truly nasty and polluted. What gives?

I assume most of the pollution, whether it’s fecal matter or other nasty stuff, acts as a form of fertilizer that causes massive blooms of algae and other plants, which serve as home for scores of tiny organisms, that serve as food for small fish, then bigger fish, then birds, turtles, etc., and in the hot tropical sun the hyper-fertilized algae grows at a fast pace.

So I wonder – are there more living organisms in a polluted river than a clean one? So what harm is caused by the pollution, other than the nasty smell and the fact that one wouldn’t want to eat the fish? Other than that, the river seems to be thriving. How is it worse off than a clean, beautiful river.

Serious replies appreciated.

MT, the sub-tropics, especially with all the rain and sunshine during summer, are naturally teeming with life. Even polluted areas appear to be very rich in plant, insect and bird life.
However, you are still seeing a despoiled landscape; the biodiversity is poor, with only the hardiest species left. In fact, much of the vegetation and fish life you saw are invader species (not native to the area). Pollution leaves us with landscapes populated with hardy opportunists such as cockroaches and sparrows.

Your reasoning about some forms of pollution feeding the critters is correct.

“Clean” waters tend to be sterile. Rivers, and oceans. Northern oceans look greenish gray because of the quantities of micro-organisms; glassy blue tropical waters don’t have the same quantities of little bugs, and thus look cleaner.

There’s plenty of stuff that accumulates in fish feeding in those streams that makes them not such a good thing to eat.

Yes it acts as a fertilizer. As do high CO2 emisssions help most forms (not all) of plant life. (I comented on this a few months ago). Why do you think most commercial growers pump their green houses full of CO2 ? Because it increases plant growth. Why do most farmers dump shit on their fields to increase Nitogen and other things. So it increases plant growth.

However it depends what other things are in the pollutant. High levels of mercury or pesticides etc would be very detrimental to the fish. Smell is not always the thing to go by to decide if somewhere is polluted. Organic farms smell like shit! :slight_smile: Anyway it sounds what you are saying is a good sign.

Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would also dramatically benefit most plant life on the earth. The mainly negative affect of global warming would be on human life due to flooding of low altitude islands etc and artic wildlife.

Here is an article for those that don’t understand the way plants use CO2
purgit.com/co2ok.html

Well, it seems like a good thing that there are extremely abundant fish and shorebirds in the river. Surprisingly abundant.

And, I recall reading that there’s a lot less raw sewage pumped directly into Taiwan’s rivers than there used to be, which also seems like a good thing.

But the local rivers clearly have a long way to go. You’re right that not all that stinks is bad (take the durian for instance). But the stench of the Keelung river definitely seems unhealthy (and I would certainly heed the No Swimming/No Fishing signs).

And, I’m confident the above comments about lack of diversity and lots of invader species are true. It seems that when people speak of invader species, they’re speaking of things like kudzu and aggressive tropical fish, which thrive and wipe out native species. Is that a truism of invader species – that’s what they do? (If they didn’t do that they wouldn’t be invaders, they would be introduced but fail to survive?)

Still, regardless of the logic (water + sun + heavy fertilizer = plentiful wildlife) it seems odd that a nasty, polluted river would have a greater number of living organisms in it – and big, apparently healthy organisms – than a clean one.

One related note is what you mentioned about not all pollution being fecal matter (which is clearly a good fertilizer). Instead, surely lots of motor oil, antifreeze and other nasty chemicals flow into the Keelung and other local rivers. I would think those substances wouldn’t work as a fertilizer promoting growth, but might actually diminish growth. Apparently if that’s the case they are overpowered by growth inducing pollutants.

I’ve never seen so many fish in the river in Sanxia as recently, especially around the sewer pipes … people catch and eat them … makes me wonder …

Does anyone remember seeing Mayor Ma gulp down a glass of the Keelung to show how efforts his government had started had made the water a lot cleaner, erh, just as a body drifted past? I didn’t see it, but many people I know swear they saw the report on the news.

HG

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]Does anyone remember seeing Mayor Ma gulp down a glass of the Keelung (Jilong) to show how efforts his government had started had made the water a lot cleaner, erh, just as a body drifted past? I didn’t see it, but many people I know swear they saw the report on the news.

HG[/quote]

Don’t laugh. I’m sure you saw what it did to his organ. :astonished:

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]Well, it seems like a good thing that there are extremely abundant fish and shorebirds in the river. Surprisingly abundant.

And, I recall reading that there’s a lot less raw sewage pumped directly into Taiwan’s rivers than there used to be, which also seems like a good thing.

But the local rivers clearly have a long way to go. You’re right that not all that stinks is bad (take the durian for instance). But the stench of the Keelung (Jilong) river definitely seems unhealthy (and I would certainly heed the No Swimming/No Fishing signs).

And, I’m confident the above comments about lack of diversity and lots of invader species are true. It seems that when people speak of invader species, they’re speaking of things like kudzu and aggressive tropical fish, which thrive and wipe out native species. Is that a truism of invader species – that’s what they do? (If they didn’t do that they wouldn’t be invaders, they would be introduced but fail to survive?)

Still, regardless of the logic (water + sun + heavy fertilizer = plentiful wildlife) it seems odd that a nasty, polluted river would have a greater number of living organisms in it – and big, apparently healthy organisms – than a clean one.

One related note is what you mentioned about not all pollution being fecal matter (which is clearly a good fertilizer). Instead, surely lots of motor oil, antifreeze and other nasty chemicals flow into the Keelung (Jilong) and other local rivers. I would think those substances wouldn’t work as a fertilizer promoting growth, but might actually diminish growth. Apparently if that’s the case they are overpowered by growth inducing pollutants.[/quote]

I think things (in relation to the environment and animals) are definately getting a lot better. Most developed countries seem to go through a stage of serious pollution and then gradually get better.
I have older relatives 60 plus that can still remember going to London and being covered with soot.
Taipei (perhaps you know) used to be far far more polluted than it is now. Train station area could make you feel sick in about twenty minutes and San chung was almost un-inhabitable. WOW it was disgusting. Both animal welfare and the environment seem to be improving quickly in Taiwan.

here is a video about alien species in Taiwan, there is also one about Taiwan’s endemic fish. The videos are all in English and can download for free.
tesri.gov.tw/english/content/video/video.asp

Drinking water in UK now seems to be the culprit for may English men shooting blanks. Though that doesn’t seem to be a problem in China ! Weird ! As the water looks so clean in Western Europe. Apparently something to do with women taking the pill then taking a pee that causes English men to become more female lol

The fish are jumping because they’re trying to get out.

. . or trying to breathe.

Hg

Sorry, I thought this was about the foul, putrescent rivers getting together with wildlife to play an All Star game against the denuded woodlands and mutated frogs…

Why did I read this as “Foul, prepubescent rivers teaming with wildlife”