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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

'Green slime' outbreak blamed on pollution, not just hot weather

Thick green layers of toxic scum forming on British canals and lakes have been blamed on the hot weather and fertilisers being washed into water.

Some 83 incidents of algae have been reported to environmental authorities so far this year, starving lakes of oxygen and putting native species at threat.

The highest ever number of annual reported incidents was 226 five years ago, but the Environment Agency said this year was an unusually bad one.

Toxic ‘cyanobacteria’, known as blue green algae, has been recorded along the Welsh coast, in Scottish lochs, infesting the Norfolk Broads, ruining swimming ponds in London and in fishing ponds and streams across the country.

It is not known how many of this year’s incidents relate to blue-green algae, but dog walkers and swimmers have spotted “green slime” in country parks, on the surface of reservoirs used for drinking water and even on the underside of bridges.

Thames Water spends £2m every year cleaning up algae from lakes and reservoirs. (more)