From: Reuters
Published June 7, 2007 12:00 AM

South China City Hit By Toxic Red Tide of Algae

BEIJING -- Coastal waters off China's booming southern port of Shenzhen have been hit by the biggest ever marine algal bloom, state media reported on Thursday.

The report comes days after green algae in China's third largest lake cut off water supplies to millions of residents in Wuxi, in eastern Jiangsu province.

Commonly known as "red tide", toxic algal blooms can devastate marine plant and animal life and are exacerbated by coastal run-off from fertilisers and untreated human waste.

"This is the biggest red tide that has ever appeared off the city's coast," the China Daily quoted Zhou Kai, an expert with the local marine environment monitoring station, as saying.

Zhou said the 50-sq-km (19-sq-mile) slick off the west coast of Shenzhen, a major industrial centre bordering Hong Kong in Guangdong province, was the third outbreak this year and was likely to persist without rain.

"The weather remains sunny and hot, which means the red tide is here to stay for now," Zhou said.

"We strongly urge the public to stay away from the polluted sea areas and not eat sea products from there," he added.

Provincial and local governments have poured billions of yuan into cleaning up coastal waters off Guangdong, but discharges from human waste and heavy-polluting industries continue to take their toll.

The bloom would not cause major economic losses, Zhou said, but "the foul smell of the dying algae will be unpleasant for the people living in affected areas, and the tide's annoying red colour will also mar the pleasant view".

China has slowed, but not reversed, a rising tide of pollution from frenetic industrialisation, the national environment agency said on Tuesday in the face of increasing public anger over foul air and water.

Source: Reuters

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