GREEN DREAM

Photos: Chinese beachgoers dive into waves of mysterious algae

Every summer since 2007, residents of coastal Chinese city Qingdao have been greeted by a mysterious “algae bloom.” No one can fully explain where it comes from. But in 2013, the New York Times reported a theory that nearby farms of porphyra (the nori in our sushi), were attracting the algae, which was then swept out to sea to blossom into a mushy green carpet.

Though it’s a delightful bright green, the annual algae inundation poses some threats. It’s harmful not only to marine life but also to humans, yielding toxic hydrogen sulfide gas once it begins to decompose. And cleaning it up before it rots isn’t cheap; in 2008, Qingdao spent more than $30 million removing it. So far, that hasn’t kept local beachgoers from diving in.

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A man covers himself with algae. (Reuters/China Daily)
A resident tastes algae as he stands on an algae-filled coastline in Qingdao
A resident tastes algae as he stands on an algae-filled coastline. (Reuters/China Daily)
Residents remove green algae from a net on the beach in Qingdao
Residents remove green algae from a net on the beach. (Reuters/China Daily)
A fisherman rides past an algae-covered beachside in Rizhao
A fisherman rides past an algae-covered beachside. (Reuters/China Daily)
People play volleyball on algae-covered beach  in Shandong province
People play volleyball on a beach, which is partly covered with algae. (Reuters/China Daily)
A local boy sits in a pile of algae as his friend runs on top of it at a beach in Qingdao
A local boy sits in a pile of algae as his friend runs on top of it at a beach. (Reuters/China Daily)
A pair of slippers is seen at an algae-filled coastline in Qingdao
A pair of slippers is seen at an algae-filled coastline. (Reuters/China Daily)
A man covers himself in algae as he plays with his friends at a seaside in Qingdao
A man covers himself in algae as he plays with his friends. (Reuters/China Daily)
A boy plays on an algae-covered seaside in Qingdao
A boy plays on an algae-covered seaside. (Reuters/China Daily)
Algae is pictured on the shoulders of a swimmer along the seaside in Qingdao
Algae is pictured on the shoulders of a swimmer along the seaside. (Reuters/China Daily)
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