Toxic Algae, Razor Blades, Olympics: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Lake Erie turned an eerie shade of green due to a toxic algae bloom, steering Toledo away from the taps. Someone putting razor blades in parking meters is making New Jersey residents wary. And 10 years later, poor Athens is still paying the price for hosting the Olympics. It's What's Ruining Our Cities.

An algae bloom ruined Toledo's water

Algae in Lake Erie is usually no cause for alarm, but earlier this week a particularly nasty bloom caused Toledo, Ohio's tap water to turn toxic, as the city issued strict warnings against drinking the water and even bathing children in it (which doesn't make me particularly want to bathe an adult in it either). Boil orders are not altogether unusual for compromised municipal water systems, but in this case, boiling the water would make it worse by causing the toxin—microcystin—to grow. All is well now, apparently, except for the fact that runoff from agriculture and increasingly warming temperatures could enable it to happen again. [Mother Jones]

Razor blades are ruining New Jersey parking meters

Well, this is fun. Some creative soul has been sticking razor blades into the coin slots of parking meters in Rutherford, New Jersey. So far, only seven blades have been discovered in meters over the last six months, but that was enough to prompt a warning from the city urging residents to be "mindful and vigilant when depositing monies into our parking meters." Seems like it might be a pretty easy way to get out of paying a meter, too, right? Just tell the officer you didn't want to bleed to death? [Gothamist]

The Olympics ruined Athens

Ten years ago this week, the Summer Olympics triumphantly returned to their historic home with splashy opening ceremonies in Athens, Greece. Unfortunately, the glory did not last after the Games. While the dilapidated state of Athens' venues post-Games has been well-documented, new photos taken this week show just how devastating the Olympics were for the city. Some say the economic devastation wrought upon Greece in the last decade was due to the government financially overextending itself just to host the Games. [Gizmodo]

Photo by Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP