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Pregnant couple worries about algae

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 14:45:52-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A pregnant couple who lives on a boat in Cape Coral is worried about the health of their baby because of the green algae covering their marina.

William and Mikayla Zariske live at Rosen Park Marina in their boat, where they have an annual lease, and are connected to power, AC and more. "We moved aboard here about September of last year and the water has been relatively clear all year long," William said.

That has changed in recent weeks. Their home is surrounded by florescent green algae. The couple believes the algae is impacting their health. "It's been emitting a horrible oder," said William. "Our breathing has, for the first time living here, been bad. Tightness of the chest. Coughing up phlem." 

The Zariske's are most concerned about the health of a third family member. Mikayla is seven and a half months pregnant. The algae prompted William to call the Governor's office, other government agencies, he said he even tried the Red Cross, to get some type of relief. "When I contacted the governor's office, we just wanted a hotel for a few weeks until this stuff clears out," he said. "We just don't want to be in here breathing this. We don't think it's healthy for our child."

4 In Your Corner made some calls too. A Lee County government spokesperson said the Governor's State of Emergency does not include funds to temporarily relocate people, even though the county's health department has issued several warnings telling people to avoid contact with algae.

We also called the American Red Cross. The organization said it would work with families on a case by case basis, so we gave it the Zariske's contact information. Soon after, Mikayla told one of our reporters a representative did call, but he said the Red Cross would not help in this case. He said they would only help if the city of Cape Coral or the marina declared the water unlivable. 

4 In Your Corner also reached out to the Florida Department of Health to find out what they want people to know about living on boats around green algae. We have not heard back yet, but will update this story when we do.