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Algae Bloom Not to Affect Olympic Sailing Event

The thick algae that invaded the sea off Qingdao city in east China's Shandong Province will not affect the Olympic sailing even to be hosted in the coastal city, said oceanographical experts on Sunday.

Coverage of the algae, namely enteromorpha prolifera, is shrinking and its photosynthesis ability, a key factor for its growth rate, has been reduced to one-fifth as that at the beginning of June, said Zhou Mingjiang, a research fellow with the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

"The algae will be converted into carbon, generating no toxin during the process," said Tang Qisheng, ocean-ecological expert with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Blue-green algae choked the eastern Taihu Lake last summer, forcing local water plants to cut drinking water supplies to 2 million residents in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province.

But Zhou Mingjiang noted that different from the blue-green algae that grew in polluted water, the algae in Qingdao only grew in clean water and would not affect people's drinking water.

"Outbreak of enteromorpha prolifera had been reported in many countries, including Italy, France and Denmark," he said.

According to Sun Song, head of the CAS Institute of Oceanology, no obvious change was detected in terms of water quality recently.

"The water quality meets the need for Olympic sailing events," he said.

More than 130,000 soldiers and volunteers have cleared more than 40 tons of algae from water. Currently, coverage of algae in the 49.48-square-kilometer sailing event venue was reduced to 0.156 square kilometers.

(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2008)

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