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 Post subject: Red Tide
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:33 pm 
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SCMP wrote:
Mainland sewage fuelling Hong Kong's 'red tides'

Cheung Chi-fai chifai.cheung@scmp.com

Sewage from the mainland is fuelling an increase of harmful algal blooms - known as red tides - in Hong Kong waters, according to a leading scientist.

Professor Ho Kin-chung, dean of the Open University's school of science and technology and an expert on algae, said the red tides were "fed" by nutrients flowing in from mainland waters to the east and west of Hong Kong.

The news comes as the high season for red tides in Hong Kong begins, fuelled by a combination of nutrients in the water and warming seas.

Within the last fortnight brown algae been spotted across the territory - off Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, Lantau and within Victoria Harbour.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department staff said they had spotted red tides at fish culture zones within Tolo Harbour, Sha Tau Kok and Tai Mei Tuk, while a member of the public reported another at Pak Sha Wan in Sai Kung.

"The economic boom across the border leads to more sewage discharge into the sea and rivers, and in the right seasons [the nutrients] come down to us. So this is no longer a local phenomenon but a regional one," Ho said.

Most algae feed on nutrients such as phosphates or nitrates that are commonly found in cities' wastewater. At the right temperature, well-fed algae will proliferate in a short period of time.

Ho said Hong Kong was sandwiched by the Pearl River in the west and Mirs Bay in the east and these were the two key origins of red tides in local waters.

As a result, Tuen Mun, Lantau, Tolo Harbour and Sai Kung were becoming increasingly prone to the phenomenon.

There have also been recent reports of large amounts of seaweed being washed onto beaches in South Lantau.

A spokeswoman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it would announce today whether tests had found the algae off Lamma Island to be toxic.

Algal blooms usually occur in late spring and early summer when warm water rises up from the sea or river bed, bringing nutrients with it, said Ho.

Recent storms may also have aggravated the problem as rain flushes nutrients from the land into the sea.

In 1998, a red tide killed 80 per cent of the stock at Hong Kong fish farms.


I've been swimming at HSY the last couple of days.
There were noticeable patches of brown scum, not nice but no adverse reactions so far, no stings or itching as happens occasionally.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:13 pm 
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There was an amazing red tide at HSY yesterday.

The whole bay was bright crimson.

I went in anyway.
It was like swimming in raspberry lemonade.

There was no stinging or other ill effects (so far) and had no breathing difficulties after 40 minutes in last night, so I don't think it's that toxic, but I wore goggles and took care not to swallow any. Don't blame me if you start growing gills.

However, the more cautious might read this:
CDC wrote:
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
Harmful marine algae, such as those associated with red tides, occur in the ocean and can produce toxins that may harm or kill fish and marine animals.
Assessing the Impact on Public Health
In addition to killing fish, brevetoxins can become concentrated in the tissues of shellfish that feed on K. brevis. People who eat these shellfish may suffer from neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, a food poisoning that can cause severe gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms, such as tingling fingers or toes.

The human health effects associated with eating brevetoxin-tainted shellfish are well documented. However, scientists know little about how other types of environmental exposures to brevetoxin—such as breathing the air near red tides or swimming in red tides—may affect humans. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who swim among brevetoxins or inhale brevetoxins dispersed in the air may experience irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Additional evidence suggests that people with existing respiratory illness, such as asthma, may experience these symptoms more severely.


I definitely wouldn't be gathering shellfish or sea urchins there.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:42 pm 
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Alan wrote:
Don't blame me if you start growing gills.
Alan, the Human Guinea Pig, risking his life and health to set our minds at ease about the many wildlife dangers on Lamma.

How about exposing yourself to some other local dangers about which we know quite little due to lack of fearless human experimental subjects? How about exposing yourself to snake bites, centipedes, killer hornets and the currently fast-growing spiders, wrangle a boar, anatagonise some feral dogs, etc.? I'll photograph your injuries and you can write about the ill effects suffered (if any) for the Lamma-zine.

How about it?

In the meantime, is the tide still there today? Worth biking over to take some pictures?
Or anybody has good photos from yesterday, please?

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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:14 pm 
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You're a brave man, Alan. Lammaites are freaking out on Facebook about this Red Tide on Hung Shing Yeh beach these two days. Paraphrasing them:

"VERY TOXIC! Keep your dogs, kids, loved ones OUT of that water, please. Close the beach!"

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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:59 pm 
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Lamma-Gung wrote:
VERY TOXIC! Keep your dogs, kids, loved ones OUT of that water, please. Close the beach!


Some algae is toxic, and you get "stings" and an allergic reaction (red lumps) immediately; this variety seems benign.
Just like a red jelly bean drink.

But obviously, just speaking from my own experience.

I'll be back this evening.
I hope.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:51 pm 
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Photo from Roz Keep. Thanks!


Attachments:
File comment: Red Tide @ HSY Beach, by Roz Keep
Roz-Keep-Red-Tide-140604.jpg
Roz-Keep-Red-Tide-140604.jpg [ 128.07 KiB | Viewed 768 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:55 pm 
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Just came back, only a tiny amount of the red close to the beach.
The rest, the usual murky green brown.

Yesterday it was red like Roz's photo all over the bay.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:53 am 
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Powerstation beach water was blood red earlier this morning. Looked like a blood bath.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:03 am 
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Alan, some people are concerned about your health after your epic Red Tide Swim in SSL956's charmingly named "blood bath"? SSL956 seems to play too many computer games?

Alan, are you still alive and feeling OK? Really? No weird symptoms from some of the insidious neurotoxins? Hallucinations, weird dreams, involuntary facial contortions and other neurological symptoms? Growing gills might come in handy for a regular swimmer...

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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:27 am 
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Creaky joints, missing teeth, blurred vision, tinnitus, greying hair.
But I had all those before I went in.

There are a million different kinds of algae. Some you can barely notice visually have a vicious sting, presumably toxin, that makes swimming unendurable. This latest red tide is visually dramatic but didn't even have a noticeable odour.
Maybe it's a new variety from Daya Bay and I'll form a cocoon and wake up as Godzilla.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Alan wrote:
Maybe it's a new variety from Daya Bay and I'll form a cocoon and wake up as Godzilla.

Looking forward to this worldwide exclusive in the Lamma-zine, including photos of the various stages of your transformation!

As you describe yourself in such a self-deprecating way, this transformation might actually be a major improvement! ;-)
You might live much longer than the original Godzilla as HK has no weapons big enough to bring you down.

But these days you'd have to fight the Transformers and Decepticons doing major battle soon in HK, toppling the Bank of China (again!) and tossing the Star Ferry high into the air! You could team up with the Transformers fighting the bad guys!

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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:30 pm 
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I do have a list of bad guys I'd like to use some atomic breath on ... but best if I'm not more specific.


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 Post subject: Re: Red Tide
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:11 pm
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Alan wrote:
SCMP wrote:
Mainland sewage fuelling Hong Kong's 'red tides'

Cheung Chi-fai chifai.cheung@scmp.com

Sewage from the mainland is fuelling an increase of harmful algal blooms - known as red tides - in Hong Kong waters, according to a leading scientist.

Professor Ho Kin-chung, dean of the Open University's school of science and technology and an expert on algae, said the red tides were "fed" by nutrients flowing in from mainland waters to the east and west of Hong Kong.

The news comes as the high season for red tides in Hong Kong begins, fuelled by a combination of nutrients in the water and warming seas.

Within the last fortnight brown algae been spotted across the territory - off Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, Lantau and within Victoria Harbour.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department staff said they had spotted red tides at fish culture zones within Tolo Harbour, Sha Tau Kok and Tai Mei Tuk, while a member of the public reported another at Pak Sha Wan in Sai Kung.

"The economic boom across the border leads to more sewage discharge into the sea and rivers, and in the right seasons [the nutrients] come down to us. So this is no longer a local phenomenon but a regional one," Ho said.

Most algae feed on nutrients such as phosphates or nitrates that are commonly found in cities' wastewater. At the right temperature, well-fed algae will proliferate in a short period of time.

Ho said Hong Kong was sandwiched by the Pearl River in the west and Mirs Bay in the east and these were the two key origins of red tides in local waters.

As a result, Tuen Mun, Lantau, Tolo Harbour and Sai Kung were becoming increasingly prone to the phenomenon.

There have also been recent reports of large amounts of seaweed being washed onto beaches in South Lantau.

A spokeswoman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it would announce today whether tests had found the algae off Lamma Island to be toxic.

Algal blooms usually occur in late spring and early summer when warm water rises up from the sea or river bed, bringing nutrients with it, said Ho.

Recent storms may also have aggravated the problem as rain flushes nutrients from the land into the sea.

In 1998, a red tide killed 80 per cent of the stock at Hong Kong fish farms.


I've been swimming at HSY the last couple of days.
There were noticeable patches of brown scum, not nice but no adverse reactions so far, no stings or itching as happens occasionally.

I have heard that ammonical nitrogen treatment is quite efficient.


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