Killer Salt

 

It has been a bad winter here is the UK (and most of Europe).

Bizzarly, we may see a reduction in the number of frogs during the spring and summer of 2011 as a consequence of this bad weather. However, this will not be caused by the extreme cold, it is more of a man made problem to do with the cold weather.

Salt (good old Sodium Chloride, NaCl) is put onto roads to de-ice them – to stop them freezing. Whilst it is only effective to about -10 o C it is used widely throughout the UK. The problem for frogs is that the salt water run off (the salt water that is produced once the ice melts or it rains) can be of such a high concentration that it may kill tadpoles.

By böhringer friedrich (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this problem. Other de-icing substances are available but they are either too costly or more harmful.

Then again, if people were encouraged to use winter tyres or snow chains, maybe we wouldn’t need to use so much salt.

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