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FROTH AND BUBBLE
Canary Islands keep beaches open despite algae bloom
by Staff Writers
Tenerife, Spain (AFP) Aug 8, 2017


Authorities in Spain's Canary Islands kept beaches open to the public Tuesday but warned holidaymakers against touching potentially irritating microalgae blooms that have infested the waters.

The spreading algae, which contain a toxin that can irritate the skin, have produced a greenish brown hue in the waters off some beaches of the hugely popular archipelago near the coast of Africa that attracts millions of visitors every year.

But Jose Juan Aleman, director of public health for the archipelago, told AFP that no beach had "been closed in the Canaries due to the presence of microalgae".

"When microalgae are detected in a bathing zone, swimmers are recommended not to touch them," he said.

On Tuesday a red flag flew on part of Tenerife's Las Teresitas beach -- meaning swimming was not allowed.

A yellow flag -- urging precaution -- flew on the other section of the beach.

"This morning, we detected a lot of microalgae on the beach and we decided to put up the red flag," a Red Cross lifeguard, who refused to be named, told AFP.

But despite the ban, holidaymakers were still seen swimming.

"We've been giving information all day and blowing the whistle, we get them out of the water and then they just come back," he said.

Others played football on the beach, where traces of the algae and foam could be seen.

The algae are a type of bacteria, trichodesmium erythraeum, also known as sea sawdust, Aleman told AFP on Monday.

"Its proliferation is a natural, temporary phenomenon which is going to disappear" in due course, he added, suggesting global warming was helping the algae spread.

The bacterium "contains a toxin which can lead to skin irritation, dermatitis, hence one must avoid coming into contact with it in the water and on the sand."

Marta Sanson, professor of plant biology at Tenerife's La Laguna university, told AFP that "ideal conditions are allowing proliferation of these microalgae".

Those include "an increase in water temperature" as well as a "dust cloud sweeping in off the Sahara which is rich in iron, a nutrient which micro-organisms like".

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Russia's Lake Baikal 'extremely polluted', Putin warns
Moscow (AFP) Aug 4, 2017
Russia's Lake Baikal, the world's deepest freshwater lake, has extremely high pollution levels, President Vladimir Putin warned Friday while visiting the Siberian lake. Lake Baikal is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the world's deepest lake at 1,700 metres (5,580 feet) and also the oldest at 25 million years. Tourists flock there to enjoy the unique wildlife and clear waters. Putin, while ... read more

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up


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