More blue-green algae has been found, this time in China's fifth
largest freshwater lake - Chaohu Lake - in the eastern province of
Local environmental protection officials are playing down the
discovery, insisting the algae is unlikely to develop into a bloom
similar to that found in Taihu Lake last week, in neighboring Jiangsu Province.
"The algae is only in the western part of the lake and will not
pollute the whole lake which measures about 750 square meters,"
said Zhang Zhiyuan, chief engineer of the provincial environmental
protection bureau, without revealing the surface area of the lake
affected by the algae.
But he admitted, "Theoretically speaking, the algae could spread
unchecked. It is also impossible to eradicate it in the short
"But its growth is greatly influenced by weather. Thanks to the
recent frequent rainfall that has diluted the lake, the algae has
been notably curbed," he said.
However, environmental officials have been concerned enough to
hold talks with the provincial water resources bureau about
diverting water to the lake.
"A mere 700 million cubic meters of water is enough to prevent
the algae from blooming," Zhang said.
The lake has suffered from high levels of nitrogen and
phosphorus for years. The local environmental agency is now closely
monitoring water quality and says it will report anything unusual
to the government.
"The eastern part of the lake, which is the source of drinking
water for the neighboring Chaohu city, meets the country's drinking
water standards," Zhang said. The city has a population of
The Chaohu Lake experienced a blue-green algae bloom in July
2004 but it soon subsided after timely winds and rainfall.
Blue-green algae is a simple aquatic plant life that occurs
naturally in rivers, lakes, damp soil, tree trunks, hot springs,
"Bloom" is the common term used to describe an increase in the
number of algal cells to a point where they can discolor the water,
form scum, produce unpleasant tastes and odors, affect shellfish
and fish populations or otherwise create a nuisance and seriously
reduce the water quality.
(Xinhua News Agency June 8, 2007)