[China] The ocean off the coast of a popular seaside destination in mainland China has been blanketed with green seaweed turning the water from crystal clear to thick and murky.
Other-worldly images of the algal bloom at Qingdao, in eastern Shandong province, show sanitation workers shovelling the large scale Ulva Prolifera infestation which has been turning the once golden beaches into verdant meadows since the first outbreak in 2008.
Citizen’s fishing in the thick green sea and foraging for oyster along the rocky coast are some of the images which can be seen in the 12 part series although the ‘green tide’ makes this difficult due to the risk of asphyxiation marine life face due to the emerald green plant life.
Ariel views of the ocean show a blanket of emerald green being shovelled by workers into hessian sacks and bulldozed from the beaches.
Pictures taken on Wednesday June 29 showed the tide which usually washes in from the Yellow Sea between June to July each year covering a distance of about 58,000 hectares.
While the algae appears harmless to humans, marine life is at risk of asphyxiation as the green sludge sucks up oxygen from the water.
Many theories blame the phenomenon on climate change and industrial pollution both of which contribute to warm sea temperatures that help cultivate the algae’s rapid growth.
But as the tourist city struggles with yet another year of the bloom scientists have blamed the expansion of edible seaweed farming along the coast as an alternative explanation to the outbreak.
A study from 2013 the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, concluded the algae originates from the Jiangsu coast before being swept north towards Qingdao.
Scientists from the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research cited satellite images and field observations as the basis for the theory.
Scientist’s believe the algae grow on the rafts used by the Jiangsu seaweed farmers and when the seaweed is harvested the Ulva Prolifera, Hutai in Mandarin, is removed from the rafts and discarded to be swept away by the waves in the sea.
Rapid growth rates and a high capacity of nutrients in the ocean help with growth hitting one million tonnes in only two months.
Another study showed that the 2008 algae outbreak was caused by a sudden surge in the levels of nutrients such as phosphate and nitrogen in the seawater.
The algae first hit in 2008, weeks before Qingdao was in the international spotlight as the host of the sailing events for the Beijing Olympics and again in 2013 covering more than 75,000 hectares, double the amount in 2008.
More than 10,000 volunteers and 1,000 soldiers cleared the 20,000 tonnes of slime out of the sea three years ago which was then taken to a processing depot where it was dried and turned into animal feed, fertiliser and a medicinal supplement known as hutai sugar, thought to lower blood sugar.
Rapid growth rates and a high capacity of nutrients in the ocean help with growth hitting one million tonnes in only two months
Photo: The ‘green tide’ usually washes in from the Yellow Sea between June to July each year and has been photographed on Wednesday June 29 and covered a distance of about 58,000 hectares
View original article at: Thick waves of bright green algae wash up on the coast of China