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China’s green beach: Fancy a dip?
Tourists make the most of the algae attack on Qingdao's coast, while fishermen and officials face a real headache
Qingdao (青岛) city officials would agree with Kermit the frog: “It’s not easy bein’ green.”
Once regarded as the best beach city in China, Qingdao is dealing with its seasonal headache once again this month: raking up an enormous carpet of florescent green algae from the Yellow Sea (黄海).
This is the fifth year in a row that the Shandong Province city has suffered an algae attack.
The North China Sea Marine Forecasting Center of State Oceanic Administration has stated that about 19,050 square kilometers of the Yellow Sea has been infested with algae while some 500 square kilometers are densely covered with the plant, reports the China Daily.
The center forecast that the algae would continue spreading northward and some would be washed ashore where clean-up crews are already battling the invasion.
While the floating golf course of algae is not poisonous, it consumes large amounts of oxygen that can threaten fish and other marine life.
The algae may have plagued the Marine Center, but tourists and locals haven't let it spoil their trip to Qingdao’s Number One Beach (第一海水浴场). Adventurous beachgoers frolicking in the waters experiencing the rare chance to get neck-deep in fuzzy slime.
As for what to do with the seaweed, scientist Tian Yuanyu claims to have developed a successful method of extracting bio-fuel from green algae.
Tian, a professor at Shandong University of Science and Technology, told the press that the extraction technique is inexpensive and can be performed with relatively little equipment.
The Chinese authorities have yet to announce the cause of this unusual natural phenomenon.
Qingdao is one of the most iconic beach holiday destinations for Chinese people, and was a favorite summer vacation spot for Mao Zedong. In 2010, the city welcomed a total of 1.08 million tourists, and its tourism income hit RMB 58 billion.
Apart from its beaches, Qingdao's main tourism draw in summer is the Qingdao International Beer Festival, which is scheduled to run from August 13-28 in this year.