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Chinese port city uses boats, scoops to fight algae bloom

Chinese port city uses boats, scoops to fight algae bloom

A man stands near green algae off the coast of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province on Jun 17, 2021. (Photo: Chinatopix via AP)

BEIJING: The northern Chinese port city of Qingdao has deployed thousands of boats and powered scoops to deal with a massive algae bloom that is threatening sea life, tourism and water transport.

The thick layer of plants that has coated waters and clogged beaches appeared last month and is reportedly the heaviest on record.

Such blooms can displace critical food sources for ocean animals while giving off a strong smell.

State media reported on Thursday (Jul 8) that the outbreak has spread over around 9,290 sq km.

A boat is surrounded by green algae off the coast of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province on Jun 17, 2021. (Photo: Chinatopix via AP)

The Xinhua News Agency said authorities have deployed about 7,300 vessels that have thus far collected around 217,700 tonnes of algae.

Qingdao has seen such outbreaks for at least 15 years, but never on this level. Similar blooms have occurred in inland waterways such as Lake Tai to the south of Qingdao in Jiangsu province.

Xinhua said a large patch of algae was first spotted drifting northward from the coast of Jiangsu in mid-May, blooming and thickening as it went.

READ: Local tears, rotting filth and a green tide - How Boracay will get clean again

A man fishes near flotation buoys holding off green algae off the coast of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province on Jun 17, 2021. (Photo: Chinatopix via AP)

Algae blooms can occur naturally, but are thought to be growing worse due to a rise in sea temperatures and the heavy use of chemical-based fertilisers.

They are also appearing more widely, with outbreaks seen from California to the Suez Canal.

Source: AP/dv

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