U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING -- Fetid blue-green algae have returned to two
major lakes in eastern China and covered one-third of their surfaces,
but so far the blooms have not affected drinking water supplies,
state media reported.
The algae blooms were covering parts of Lake Tai and Lake Chao,
the country's third and fifth-largest freshwater lakes, China Daily
reported, citing information from the National Satellite
An outbreak last month in Lake Tai forced millions of residents of
the lakeside city of Wuxi to drink and bathe with bottled water. The
algae bloom, which top Chinese officials blamed on pollution, lasted
six days until it was flushed out by rain and water from the nearby
An algae bloom also struck Lake Chao earlier this month, but did
not threaten water supplies.
The bright-green algae, which are plantlike organisms, are common
in fresh water worldwide. Some types can produce dangerous toxins.
Lake Chao's current situation was being closely watched and water
from the Yangtze will be diverted to the lake to dilute it and
improve its water quality, the China Daily newspaper reported,
quoting Zhang Zhiyuan, a spokesman for the Anhui provincial
environmental protection bureau.
Li Jianqiu, a spokesman with Wuxi utilities bureau, said the
latest outbreak in Lake Tai has not affected the city's drinking
water because the bloom was far from water intake points.
The latest outbreak in Lake Chao was blamed on nitrogen and
phosphate from fertilizers, industrial runoff and untreated sewage.
High temperatures have also helped the algae grow and spread quickly,
China Daily said, citing Zhang Bangguo, an expert with the
environmental protection bureau that oversees Lake Chao.
The paper did not specify the cause of the latest outbreak in Lake
Tai, famed for centuries for its beauty. But it has been hit hard by
pollution from industries in the densely populated, fast-developing
region 80 miles west of Shanghai.
China's waterways are dangerously polluted after decades of rapid
economic growth and lax enforcement of pollution controls, creating
ideal conditions for algae blooms. Such outbreaks are usually caused
by concentrated run-off of chemicals from industries and farms.
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