No wonder they’re wearing masks: Chinese beachgoers frolic in a thick green algae that keeps returning despite 20,000 tonnes being removed in last few days
- Pictures show sun-seekers swimming in green algae on the beach in Qingdao in the eastern Shandong province
- But the algae – enteromorpha prolifera – isn’t toxic, is edible and is even lauded for its health benefits
- The beach was cleared by 10,000 volunteers to ensure it was ready in time for sailing events at the 2008 Olympics
It looks more like a lush green meadow than a popular coastal resort, and with tonnes and tonnes of tangled seaweed lining the shores and floating on the water, would you really want to take a swim?
It seems that nothing will deter these sunseekers from having a fun day in the sun in China.
These pictures show beachgoers frolicking in swathes of green algae on the beach in Qingdao in the eastern Shandong province.
Around 20 tonnes of the stuff has already been removed from the beach in the last few days with the coast swamped in green since early last month.
But the algae is likely to do no harm to those swimming in it – it is non poisonous Enteromorpha prolifera, an edible seaweed which is even praised for its health benefits.
But clean up teams will have to work quickly to clean up the green stuff, before it decomposes and begins to rot – for sea lettuce can produce large quantities of hydrogen sulphide, a toxic gas.
As well as being nutritious for humans, the algae is also a source of sustenance for sea creatures including manatees.
More than 10,000 volunteers helped clear the same coastline back in 2008 when the beach – which was due to host the Beijing Olympic sailing events – was swamped by some 20 square miles of algae.
The government even had to step in to ensure that the Qingdao sailing venue was ready in time for the games, sending in soldiers to help clear it up.
This particular type of seaweed can grow up to 50cm in length, typically growing near the shore, on rocks or other algae, on open coasts or in estuaries and harbours.
Officials have blamed warm seas for bringing in the algae in the past, but many scientists blame pollution for the phenomenon.
Some experts say that the algae blooms in water with high levels of nutrients blaming farmers using too much fertiliser on their crops and cities falling to treat sewage properly.
Not only were beachgoers able to reap the rewards of bathing in tonnes of healthy seaweed, but some also went to extreme measures to ensure their skin wasn’t damaged by the sun.
Many beach goers donned bizarre looking nylon masks designed to protect wearers from the glare of the sun’s rays so that they don’t have to wear sun cream.
The masks are the brainchild of a local designer and have become increasingly popular since they were launched around eight years ago.
The sea port city of Qingdao is famous for its beaches, which are noted for their clear water, mild waves and soft sand.
The beautiful scenery and their European feel are also compared to Hawaii, Bali or Samet Island in Thailand.