Sea water became green due to a huge algal bloom in China. (Photo: StockFile)
Green carpet covers Yellow Sea beach
Friday, July 05, 2013, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
For the seventh year in a row there has been the largest algal bloom ever recorded in Qingdao, China that changed the colour of the Yellow Sea to green. This phenomenon may have been caused by agriculture and industry pollution.
This year's incident, however, has been the largest by far -- encompassing 28,900 sqkm (11,158 sqmiles) of sea, or twice the amount of sqkm as the previous biggest bloom in 2008, The Guardian reports.
Bulldozers sent by the government were employed to remove 7,335 tonnes of the algae from beaches in the city of Qingdao, Xinhua reports.
Although the algae, Enteromorpha prolifera, is not toxic to humans or animals, the thick layer it generates on the surface of the water can have a drastic effect on the ecology of the environment underneath it. By preventing the sunlight from entering the ocean and sucking oxygen out of the water, marine life ends up suffocating to death.
Because the algae relies on plentiful nutrients in the sea to flourish, University of Cambridge and EnAlgae Project researcher Dr Brenda Parker believes that this enormous algal bloom may have a strong link to the region’s industrial pollution.
"Algal blooms often follow a massive discharge of phosphates or nitrates into the water. Whether it's farming, untreated sewage or some kind of industrial plant that is discharging waste into the water," she said.
It is reasonable to conclude that there has been a dramatic change in the ecosystem that has caused such a radical and recent explosion of the algae, which was probably not natural.
"That would probably be an indicator that something is a little bit unbalanced," said Parker.
Professor Bao Xianwen, of the Qingdao-based Ocean University of China, agrees, AFP reports. And he adds: “It must have something to do with the change in the environment, but we are not scientifically sure about the reasons.”
By Natalia Real