China's Olympic co-host city Qingdao, a full one third of the
sea is covered by a massive
bloom that locals
harm the city's bucolic image during the Games.
"If we don't clean this up, we're done for," said
local businessman Zhang Longfei, pointing at a blanket of green
stretching far out to sea at Qingdao's No. 3 Bathing Beach.
"You think tourists and Games visitors want to see this?" Zhang
said, taking a break after lugging a sack full of green weed onto
a growing pile offshore.
Zhang is one of an army of troops, marine officials and common
volunteers battling to clean Qingdao's shores as the host city
for Olympic sailing events enters peak tourist season and puts
the final touches on Games preparations.
Local authorities say 30,000 people and have now been drafted
into the cause, and have drawn a line in the sand demanding that
the algae, which invaded Qingdao in mid-June, be completely expunged
from sailing competition areas by July 15.
On beaches usually packed with sun-seeking Chinese tourists, khaki-clad
troops and sweaty volunteers strive to shift mounds of green weed
washed in by the tide.
The epic battle is winnable, officials insist, at least within
the confines of the sailing competition area, currently being reinforced
with 32 km (20 miles) of marine fencing.
confident that our government can take effective measures to
clean, not only the venue area, but also protect the
beautiful beaches, Yuan Zhiping, assistant to the president of
the Qingdao Sailing Committee, told Reuters.
goes into the bay, but the Chinese only point the finger to the
warm weather for the monster algae bloom.