Giant green algae slick heads towards China

Jun 22, 2010
Chinese children play on a beach covered with algae in Qingdao in August last year. State media say a floating expanse of green algae covering 200 square kilometres (80 square miles) is heading towards China's east coast, threatening wildlife and the region's tourist industry.

A massive floating expanse of green algae is heading towards China's east coast, potentially threatening wildlife and the region's tourist industry, state media reported on Tuesday.

The algae bloom covered 200 square kilometres (80 square miles) and was about 13 kilometres (eight miles) offshore and floating towards the coastal city of Jiaonan in Shandong province, Xinhua news agency said.

The local branch of the State Oceanic Administration, which monitors marine conditions, is sending boats in a bid to clear the algae, it said.

are typically caused by pollution in China and suck up huge amounts of oxygen needed by marine wildlife to survive and leave a foul stench when they wash up on beaches, the report added.

In August 2008, a large offshore algae bloom threatened the sailing competition of the Olympic Games when it engulfed waters surrounding the event's venue in the eastern city of Qingdao, near Jiaonan.

Up to 10,000 soldiers and volunteers were enlisted to clean up more than a million tonnes of the foul-smelling algae as they raced to clear the waters in time for the Olympics.

According to a 2008 State Oceanic Administration report, raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off has polluted 83 percent of China's , leading to algae pollution and other problems.

In 2008, China's coastal waters witnessed 68 red tides -- another type of bloom -- covering 13,700 square kilometres (5,500 square miles), an increase of more than 2,100 square kilometres over 2007, the report said.

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not rated yet Jun 22, 2010
I thought algae sequestered pollution and produced oxygen???
2.5 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2010
I thought algae sequestered pollution and produced oxygen???

Depends on the type and amount. Don't forget plants utilize CO2 only to make sugars, which they then burn releasing CO2 and absorbing oxygen like you and I do. The bad part is when the algae die off and you have a cyanobacterial bloom feeding off of the dead algae in anoxic water conditions.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2010
Can the algae be harvested for fertilizer by composting on land?
not rated yet Jun 22, 2010
As I have been told, it often is in the United States, where algae blooms are often a problem in freshwater bodies. However, the fertilizer profit is only a small consolation for the loss of tourism and harvesting never truly stops the growth.
not rated yet Jun 23, 2010
It takes up O2 when it dies.

But one can harvest, dry it and use it for fuel, animal feed, ect. In fact that is a good way to clean the ocean.
not rated yet Jun 24, 2010
Couldn't it also be used as a feedstock for a biogas reactor? Being these phenomena are recurring and growing along amany coastlines, maybe finding a constructive use for them would be a good idea.
not rated yet Jul 25, 2010
So... the chinese ppl should "harvest, dry it and use it for fuel, animal feed"? This idea sounds great.

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