Residents and beach-goers along the coast of Qingdao, China have experienced a massive influx of soft, non-toxic algae known as hutai every summer since 2007. To China State Official’s displeasure, this year’s algae bloom has proven to be the largest yet. It currently covers an area larger than the state of Massachusetts and measures more than double the size of those recorded in previous years, according to the State Oceanic Administration.
While algae growth naturally occurs during the summer months due to longer days and strong sunlight, blooms the size of those occurring annually in Qingdao are inexplicable. Though causes for the enormous bloom are uncertain, scientists suggest that the rampant growth of hutai, also known as enteromopha prolifera or “sea-lettuce”, may be connected to pollution in the form of fertilizer run-off from sites such as farms and golf courses. Some researchers also believe that it may derive from the increased presence of seaweed farms growing nori on large coastal rafts to the south of Qingdao.
Officials in China have declared this most recent bloom to be a “large scale algae disaster.” While the sea-lettuce is not harmful to humans, it stifles marine life and can begin to produce toxic hydrogen sulfide gas if left to rot in large quantities—not to mention a stinky egg smell. Since the algae began to appear in early June, hundreds of boats and bulldozers have been sent out to clean up the coastline waters. Alongside these endeavors, close to 2,500 individuals have been deployed with nets, pitchforks, and their own construction equipment in order to attempt to keep up with the seemingly constant flood of algae. As the unyielding algae continues to wash up on shore overnight, clean-up efforts persist and Qingdao’s tourism and aquatic farming industries continue to suffer.
While the sheer volume of algae that washes up on the beach necessitates removal with large bulldozers and other large-scale equipment, beach cleaning machines can help by removing daily amounts of weed and refining the quality of sand once the algae bloom slows. A consistent cleaning program that employs tine-raking beach cleaners, like the Barber SURF RAKE, can help minimize the lasting effects of similar blooms. Additionally, these beach cleaning machines can completely remove more regular amounts of seaweed that arrive on beaches daily.
New York Times
Science World Report
The Caribbean offers some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and best vacation spots. However, seasonal seaweed and sea grass or a change in the tide can cause catastrophic amounts of seaweed to accumulate on popular resort beaches. On many islands, beach tourism is the backbone of the economy. Therefore, the ability to not only remove vast amounts of seaweed quickly, but also to make the beach look as pristine as it did before the seaweed's arrival, is critical.
How can beach cleaners be used to clean the beach without disrupting their natural ecosystems? Learn about a few common cleaning method adaptations here.
One of the major applications for beach cleaners is to remove seaweed from the beach. While it does provide food for some coastal creatures, it also poses a danger to them as well because of man-made pollutants. Additionally, beach-goers often demand that the smelly, bug laden seaweed be removed for sensory reasons.
The Sun Sentinel of South Florida recently published an article on how they use their SURF RAKE to solve these issues. Here are several excerpts:
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