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May 27, 2017

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Natural remedy fights invading Qingdao algae

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, algae mats were found in the Yellow Sea, including areas of Qingdao, Rizhao, Yantai and Weihai cities of east Shandong, Liu said on Friday at a news conference.

The NCSB has raised the alert level and continued monitoring the algae's movement by satellite, airplane and ship.

Algae are not toxic or polluting, but the blooms ravage the ecosystem because they consume large quantities of oxygen, suffocating other marine life.

An expanse of green algae has swept ashore on the beaches of the coastal tourist destination in Qingdao, disappointing beachgoers, who expected clear blue water.

"We got tens of thousands of plastic bags ready to remove the algae quickly so that swimmers won't be affected," said Tang Wenzhou, head of beach management department of Qingdao No. 1 Beach Area of downtown Qingdao.

On Wednesday morning, Tang and his colleagues started the cleanup, and more than 100 bags weighing over 30 tons have been filled. The water looked clear after the effort.

"We have not been disturbed by the green algae. I swim here as usual," said local swimmer Zhao Xiaowei, 32.

Local authorities have come up with various ways to fight E. prolifera in the past few years.

Last month, the Qingdao city government released a precautionary plan of emergency measures against a large-scale algae outbreak, demanding around-the-clock monitoring of the algae's spread.

Authorities have organized 52 patrol boats to cope with large swarms of plankton. In the past 10 days, a total of 59 tons of plankton have been collected, according to a report by the Qingdao city's ocean and fisheries bureau on Friday.

Professor Bao Xianwen from the Qingdao-based Ocean University of China said research centers have yet to figure out the reason for the feverish growth of algae in recent years.

"We don't know where it originated and why it's suddenly growing so rapidly," Bao said.

"It must have something to do with the change in the environment, but we are not scientifically sure of the reasons."

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