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Toxic Green Algae Takes Over Beaches Off Yellow Sea In China

Soulskill posted 1 year,17 days | from the take-that,-ecosystem dept.

China 66

An anonymous reader writes "Caused by what researchers say is local industry and agriculture pollution, the green algae (scientific name Enteromorpha prolifera), has resulted in the foul-smelling mass taking over parts of China's Yellow Sea. The event, which has occurred in the same region over the past six years, always during the summer, has grown exponentially since its last notable interference in 2008. This year's growth is reportedly double in size, measuring in at more than 11,158 square miles. According to a report from the Guardian, officials have removed 7,335 tons of the algae recently in an attempt to control the growth after beach-goers in the nearby city of Qingdao have remain unaffected by the disturbance. While strange in appearance, the algae is reportedly nontoxic to humans but can, however, leave behind the toxic gas hydrogen sulphide. According to a report from the Daily Mail, crews are working to remove the algae as the toxicity is caused if it is left to decompose."

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66 comments

biodiesel (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | 1 year,17 days | (#44197829)

seems like some enterprising person or (party-backed business) could make some lemonade.

Re:biodiesel (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198033)

The market is already saturated. How do you expect people to raise their prices in a world of abundance? It's more profitable to burn it where it lies, like how the refineries flare off the natural gas 'waste'.

Re:biodiesel (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,17 days | (#44199009)

ftfs:

the algae is reportedly nontoxic to humans but can, however, leave behind the toxic gas hydrogen sulphide.

bad news: at low concentrations, hydrogen sulfide isn't toxic but reeks of rotten eggs. good news: at high concentrations it is fatal, but at least doesn't smell (because it overloads your nose sensors)

Re:biodiesel (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198613)

The concentration is most likely low enough to make extraction impractical while high enough to present you with an environmental problem. The worst of both worlds.

Re:biodiesel (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,17 days | (#44199091)

Not just biodiesel, maybe could be turned into human or livestock food, or use it as fertilizer in exhausted soils, just pick a desert and dump them there.

Seafood! (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | 1 year,17 days | (#44199113)

Since it is non-toxic then let's scoop it up and eat it. I had something like that one night in Hong Kong... I ordered the number 57 even though my hosts told me to never do that.

Re:Seafood! (1)

poetmatt (793785) | 1 year,17 days | (#44200691)

57 was fermented whale semen (that's why it was green). Whatever floats your umm....algae, I guess.

Re:Seafood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44201723)

MSG makes anything yummy.

Re:Seafood! (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202609)

Since it is non-toxic then let's scoop it up and eat it. I had something like that one night in Hong Kong... I ordered the number 57 even though my hosts told me to never do that.

You should have ordered the 43 instead. Just sayin'.

Re:biodiesel (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202587)

seems like some enterprising person or (party-backed business) could make some lemonade.

Yeah sure, then take a dump in it, figuratively and literally. Look at their rivers and you will understand the surrounding ocean.

Go go, China, kill yourselves! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44197875)

Carry on.

English, man, English! (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,17 days | (#44197953)

This is editing? WTF is up with our so-called editors? This summary is so far from proper English it's not even funny.

I've read better instructions that came with Chinese products that are notorious for their bad translations.

Re:English, man, English! (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,17 days | (#44197977)

...in an attempt to control the growth after beach-goers in the nearby city of Qingdao have remain unaffected by the disturbance.

Parser stack underflow

Re:English, man, English! (1)

quintus_horatius (1119995) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198019)

That particular line read like SimCity 2000's newspaper "articles"

Re:English, man, English! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198069)

I just realized that when I read things like that I end up skipping over most of it and not understanding anything. I used to think it was just my mind wandering, but I looked back at the things I've skimmed and skipped today and they all have the same thing in common: the grammar sucks.

Re:English, man, English! (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198349)

I've read better instructions that came with Chinese products that are notorious for their bad translations.

Insert rod P into hole V.

Re:English, man, English! (1)

0xG (712423) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198603)

Maybe that was the idea; to post a news article in Chinglish because it's about China?

Re:English, man, English! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44201343)

This is editing? WTF is up with our so-called editors? This summary is so far from proper English it's not even funny.

I've read better instructions that came with Chinese products that are notorious for their bad translations.

Either you are exaggerating or the standard of Chinese instructions must have increased dramatically by some hitherto unexplained mechanism... but let the readership of /. judge for themselves, take for example the below photograph:

http://cdn1.images.videobash.com/photos/000/099/591/99591.jpg [videobash.com]

If you want to stick to your guns on the poster's english skills being worse than english translations Chinese instructions you can always take the advice in that sign literally.

an annual event (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198047)

This seems to happen annually, why is it a story?

Re:an annual event (1)

xclr8r (658786) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198371)

2 words. Exponential growth.

Re:an annual event (2)

Jmc23 (2353706) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198377)

while the summary says it happened the last six years it also says it last happened in 2008. It's time warping algae! Think how much quicker you can get to your destination with biofuel from this stuff!

Re:an annual event (1)

fbumg (632974) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198631)

"Exponential" growth? From 2008 to 2013 it "doubled in size". I'm no math wizard, but "exponential" does not quite seem appropriate here. Now, if we were talking about the size of my penis....

Re:an annual event (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198927)

Ah, but in 2018 [when it has quadrupled in size], who'll be laughing then, hmm? :p

Removing it... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198065)

Makes more room for new growth. How thoughtful! (c:

Not so yellow anymore (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198075)

Just rename it. Problem solved.

Re:Not so yellow anymore (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198755)

Yeah, but you run into one of those Crayola Crayons type of philosophical problems:

. . . is the sea "Yellow-Green" . . . or "Green-Yellow" . . . ?

Re:Not so yellow anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44201331)

Would that make it the "Sea of Green"?

Is it just me? (1)

ttucker (2884057) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198081)

Or did the summary make little or no sense when read as conventional English?

Re:Is it just me? (1)

grizdog (1224414) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198293)

No, it's not just you. The orignal article was quite short, and the summary is just a verbatim lift of most of the article. THe article was clearly written in a hurry, paerhaps from a press realease originally in some other language.

Also, one of my pet peeves shows up here, which I hoped we could keep off Slashdot. THe artical and the summary use "exponentially" to mean "fast", or at least, they don't give any data to show there is a constant doubling time. Slashdotters should know what "exponentially" means, let's use it correctly.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198537)

paerhaps from a press realease originally in some other language.

It is a story about Chinese workers, removing algae caused by Chinese pollution, next to a Chinese city. I suppose it could have originated in a language other than English, but I wonder which one.

THe artical and the summary use "exponentially" to mean "fast"

No. They use "exponentially" to mean exponentially. If dx is proportional to x, then the increase is exponential. Biological growth normally follows a logistic function [wikipedia.org] , which in its early phase is exponential.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202703)

great... just a few more tens of thousands of square miles to saturate before the growth starts to level out.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198315)

I mean what you know don't?

OBVIOUSLY THIS IS THE RED TIDE ONE READS ABOUT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198089)

The Red Tide for the Red Menace !!

RTFA: Not toxic (3, Interesting)

skaralic (676433) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198095)

The algae, called Enteromorpha prolifera, is not toxic to humans or animals.

However the carpet on the surface can dramatically change the ecology of the environment beneath it. It blocks sunlight from entering the ocean and sucks oxygen from the water suffocating marine life.

Re:RTFA: Not toxic (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202711)

and when it decomposes releases Hydrogen Sulfide gas which is very toxic to humans and animals.

Won't last long (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198141)

The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and eat it.

Re:Won't last long (1)

nospam007 (722110) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198515)

"The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and eat it."

The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and sell it to the Japanese.

Re:Won't last long (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202643)

"The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and eat it."

The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and sell it to the Japanese.

The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and sell it to the Japanese, who will re-package it for the American consumer. FTFY

Re:Won't last long (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202729)

repackage it for the American consumer with a phonetically odd way of pronouncing the product name.

Re:Won't last long (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198599)

The Chinese will just take it home, cook it and eat it.

If this happened off the coast of Guangzhou, sure, they would eat it. But it is off the coast of Qingdao. So it more likely they will figure out a way to brew it into beer. For several decades prior to WWI, Qingdao was a German treaty port. The Germans built quite a few breweries, and taught the Chinese how to run them. To this day, the city of Qingdao produces some of the best beer in Asia.

Re:Won't last long (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44199243)

Tsingtao is shit. I guess it couldn't taste worse though. Thanks for the China lesson wannabe Asian man.

Re: Won't last long (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44201823)

You are right, their commercial version is dishwater. But there is also Tsingtao fresh beer in metal cans and only available at restaurants. This beer is actually quite good. I'm Belgian, I come from the country that invented beer...

Re: Won't last long (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | 1 year,17 days | (#44202757)

Beer was invented during the Neolithic period in Egypt and Iraq.

Re:California Beer (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | 1 year,17 days | (#44203225)

I come from the country where they invented beer that tastes good.

ahh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198189)

so that's why temps in america are so hot lately

Harvest it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198241)

Why isn't somebody harvesting this? The nutrient content in this stuff is huge and, at the very least, it could be processed and incorporated into feedstock.

But it decreases CO2 levels a bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198249)

So it's completely ok, in fact we should engineer more of these blooms, marine life and human safety be damned.

Government Officials Working Furiously (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198273)

To Blame Obama.

Lame joke (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198289)

You know who else is decomposing? Beethoven.

This is how Tiberium started. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198327)

See: Command And Conquer series.

Timescape (2)

pmontra (738736) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198395)

Gregory Benford published a novel in 1980 about a more toxic algae bloom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timescape [wikipedia.org]
It got the Nebula award so some of you might have read it.

Blooms getting worse (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198411)

The blooms on Clear Lake in California, possibly the most inaccurately-named body of water on the planet, have been getting worse as well. The city of Clearlake used to only smell like shit due to its decomposition about one year in six, now it's two in three. I thought that UV was supposed to be driving algae underwater, but probably it's only the kind we like.

Hardly news (5, Insightful)

o'reor (581921) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198487)

This is no news for us in Brittany, France. We've had those algae for the last 25 years on our beaches.

The reason ? Industrial farming, mainly. The manure that our farmers spread over the fields is washed down to the rivers and the sea shores. The level of phosphorous and nitrogen in the water rises and leads to massive, smelly "green tides" of algae on our beaches.

Unfortunately, no effective action is taken to correct these trends, and industrial farming tends to grow ever bigger and pollute our water ever more despite several warnings from the ECJ.

All Your Scum... (2)

0xG (712423) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198619)

...are belong to us!

Ogh, Ogh, Van Gogh, Where Art Thou? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44198841)

"Toxic Green Algae on Yellow Sea Under Blue Sky."
And no one to paint the picture. To celebrate the beauty...

Sujiao-nori (1)

Mox Factor (2911587) | 1 year,17 days | (#44198907)

that's what it's called in Japan. and it's dried and sold as food. it's called Tai-tiao in China. i love this stuff. i really hope they're not just throwing it away. dried or frozen, it can keep for a long time. also, it's under the name ulva(sea lettuce) now, not enteromorpha.

Funny related story (4, Interesting)

RedBear (207369) | 1 year,17 days | (#44199001)

So my wife and I rented an RV for a trip through California last fall, and near the end of our trip we stopped and stayed a few days in a little place called Watsonville, at the Pinto Lake RV Park [pintolakepark.com] . It's a small park, very quiet, right by the side of a small freshwater lake. You can go out on the lake in a boat, and you can fish in the lake, but the park manager tells us there's no swimming allowed and you might not want to eat the fish you catch. Why? The entire lake is a deep, dark green color from a completely out of control algae bloom, and the algae is somehow poisonous to people and animals. All the waterfowl living in the lake would walk around the park leaving wads of bird poop all over the lawn, which were dark green instead of white due to all the algae in their diet. But besides the issue with the lake and a lack of shower/laundry facilities, it was a nice place.

The cause? Apparently, agricultural runoff from all the local farms in the area. In other words, excessive use of fertilizers.

Re:Funny related story (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44199921)

Unpossible! Fertilizers are GREAT, mmkay?
If not for fertilizers, how could we overproduce and throw away so much energy-intensive food produce?

Yellow Sea -- Green Sea (1)

nukenerd (172703) | 1 year,17 days | (#44199371)

Well, we have a Yellow Sea, Black Sea, White Sea, Red Sea, and all the others are Blue, so now a Green Sea.

Chinese Luchadores??? (2)

IonOtter (629215) | 1 year,17 days | (#44199963)

Check out the Mail Online article at the end.

Full-head coverage sunblock masks seem to be a very big thing in China, getting more and more popular every year.

I can't wait until they figure out how much more awesome those masks will be when they start decorating them like a Luchador.

Going to the beach will become quite an adventure!

Re:Chinese Luchadores??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44201589)

Sorry, but that's just fucking creepy! It's like a beach filled with homicidal maniacs.

NOT Toxic (1)

Xarvh (1244438) | 1 year,17 days | (#44200205)

TFA mentions clearly that the algae is NOT toxic, in fact people happily swim in it.

Re:NOT Toxic (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44200723)

Yeah, I heard that about wheat gluten coming from China as well.

Runs parallel to another thing new to China (2)

computerchimp (994187) | 1 year,17 days | (#44201119)

China awash in green stuff screwing everything up = Capitalism

dumping iron sulphare into oceans to stimulate ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44202567)

..a growth of algae.
http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/07/20/0015222/plan-to-slow-global-warming-by-dumping-iron-sulphate-into-oceans

Algae blloming not uncommon (1)

the_arrow (171557) | 1 year,14 days | (#44224205)

This image might look cool [wikipedia.org] , but it just shows the scale of the problems the Baltic sea have. Happens every year now, so it's barely written about anymore.

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