China hit by largest-ever algae bloom

Jul 04, 2013
Chinese beachgoers walk by an algae covered public beach in Qingdao, northeast Shandong province, on July 4, 2013. The seas off China have been hit by their largest ever growth of algae, ocean officials said, with vast waves of green growth washing onto the shores of the Yellow Sea.

The seas off China have been hit by their largest ever growth of algae, ocean officials said, with vast waves of green growth washing onto the shores of the Yellow Sea.

Pictures showed beachgoers swimming and playing in the green tide in the eastern city of Qingdao, while bulldozers shovelled up tonnes of algae from the sand.

The State Oceanic Administration said on its website that the algae, enteromorpha prolifera, started to appear a week ago and had spread across an area of 28,900 square kilometres (7,500 square miles).

The previous largest bloom was in 2008 when it affected around 13,000 square kilometres, it said.

Qingdao officials said they had removed around 7,335 tonnes of algae, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The algal phenomenon is usually caused by an abundance of nutrients in the water, especially phosphorus, although the triggers for the enormous blooms which began to appear in the Yellow Sea in 2007 remain uncertain.

The China Daily quoted professor Bao Xianwen, of the Qingdao-based Ocean University of China, as saying: "It must have something to do with the change in the environment, but we are not scientifically sure about the reasons."

View of an algae covered public beach in Qingdao, northeast Shandong province, on July 4, 2013. The seas off China have been hit by their largest ever growth of algae, ocean officials said, with vast waves of green growth washing onto the shores of the Yellow Sea.

The algae are not toxic nor detrimental to water quality, but lead to extreme imbalances in by consuming large quantities of oxygen and creating .

Explore further: Increase in reported flooding a result of higher exposure

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User comments : 8

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adam_russell_9615
5 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2013
If you could turn that into food...
Sean_W
1.7 / 5 (12) Jul 04, 2013
There was an article recently (possibly on Phys.Org) about mobile processors which are brought to beaches so that the seaweed can be separated from the sand and most water at the coast which makes it much cheaper to transport. Then burn it or use it for fertilizer or pyrolyse it. The main problem is that you need to do the capital investment before an algae bloom but what you save from loss of tourist revenue and less efficient clean up methods would make it worth while.
Tessellatedtessellations
2.1 / 5 (11) Jul 04, 2013
I see compost.
Neinsense99
2.6 / 5 (17) Jul 05, 2013
For a moment there, I thought of Jackie Chan wielding a giant algal bloom as a weapon...
pres68y
5 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2013
An excellent source of food and fuel... at minimum cost. Lucky Chinese!
antigoracle
1.6 / 5 (14) Jul 05, 2013
In recent years China has been on a campaign, building the largest and longest of everything, but this is just taking things too far.
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (15) Jul 05, 2013
It's not as bad as it looks. After all, they did leave the fortune cookie at the side.
SolidRecovery
1 / 5 (10) Jul 05, 2013
That is a pessimistic way to look at things. There are companies out there trying to do this exact thing to create fuel, capture CO2, and make food. The opportunity exists in algae blooms. It is a matter of whether you make it a good or a bad thing.