Seoul expands algal bloom warning

[Korea] The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) expanded its algal warning Friday as algal blooms have been expanding to more upper parts of the Han River, advising citizens to refrain from engaging in riverside activities.

The SMG said the water between the Yanghwa and Dongjak bridges in the middle part of the river in Seoul is now subject to the warning, in addition to the water between the Haengju and Yanghwa bridges in a lower part, following an increased level of the blue-green algae concentration there.

The algae causes odor and taste problems with the water, and is known to cause respiratory problems and neuron paralysis.

“We strongly advise citizens, especially children, not to swim in the part of the streams where the warning was issued. Such activities might pose health risks,” a SMG official said.

The expanded warning is due to a water shortage at the Padang Dam in the upper part of the river, the official said.

“The water discharge there is only a sixth of the annual average, so the water flow is very slow,” the official said.

Stagnant water is an ideal environment for the algae to spread, and heavy rainfall is the best way to solve the problem, according to the official. “However, no large amount of rainfall is forecast in the near future, and the algal blooms may continue. The warning may be expanded more.”

However, he said tap water is safe because it is properly purified.

To better deal with the problem, the SMG will set up a team to expand monitoring. It is also considering using special equipment to filter the water.


Photo: Water under the Seongsan Bridge on the Han River is green due to algal blooms, Friday. The Seoul Metropolitan Government expanded warnings about the blooms to upper part of the river. / Yonhap


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