July 15th, 2012 | Shanghai Daily ‘Green tide’ set to persist at coastal resort
A massive algae “green tide” is likely to persist in east China’s coastal resort of Qingdao for the next few days, although thousands of tons of the material clogging up the coastline has been cleared, according to marine officials.
Huang Juan, deputy head of the North China Sea Marine Forecasting of State Oceanic Administration, said yesterday that 1,558 square kilometers of the algae bloom spreading over 8,620 square kilometers on the Yellow Sea has been washed to waters near Qingdao. Some 49 square kilometers of the algae is still choking Qingdao’s shore.
“The algae bloom is likely to persist in the area for the next three days as winds are still pushing the green tide ashore,” Huang said.
Wang Shulian, deputy head of the Qingdao Marine and Fishery Bureau, said local authorities have mobilized some 3,000 people to remove 62,533 tons of the algae since it first appeared in June.
“We took preventative action by installing 20,000 meters of metal barriers in the sea to protect beachside resorts and the city’s Olympic Sailing Center,” Wang said.
These have proved effective in assisting algae collection, she said.
Wang said the algae bloom this year was more serious than before and arrived earlier. But it has not harmed local tourism and aquaculture, thanks to efforts to combat it, she added.
Local residents panicked when they first saw the seaweed bloom in 2008, when it posed a threat to the Olympic sailing events scheduled in Qingdao.
As the green tide has become a frequent summer phenomenon, public awareness has grown that the algae is not toxic. Holiday makers have kept flocking to Qingdao for their summer vacations, despite media reports on the green tide.
Liu Tao, an associate professor with the Ocean University of China, said the algae absorbs nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants in the sea. But if not disposed of, mats of algae washed ashore can cause new pollution.
Marine official Wang said the authorities have sent all the collected algae to the treatment facility of a bio-engineering development company under the Ocean University of China.
“More than 80 percent of the algae is recycled for making fertilizer, animal feed and food additives,” she said, adding the algae fertilizer has become a popular product for organic farming.
Wang said the university has been working on a program to develop green algae feed for aquatic animals.