China's Coast Under Siege by Massive Algae Slick

china algae bloom photo
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Qingdao, China, is famous for its temperate sea air and "Tsingtao" beer but, during the summer, the gentle coast becomes a fertile bed for massive, smelly, algae blooms. The last major bloom occurred in 2008 and threatened the sailing competitions of the Beijing Olympics.

This year, another bloom as blossomed—and has grown by 50 percent in less than a week.The bloom, which originated offshore near Jiaonan, a smaller city just south of Qingdao, has grown from covering 80 square miles to 120 square miles.

Fueled by coastal pollution, the algae sucks oxygen out of the water, posing a serious threat to local marine life. a 2008 State Oceanic Administration report estimated that raw sewage and agricultural runoff had polluted 83 percent of China's coast.

Algal blooms and red tides are the direct result of such pollution.