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Environmental agency: Nearly entire Gulf of Finland overrun with blue-green algae

The algal blooms have also invaded many inland lakes and researchers say the situation will only improve in August.

Sulka ajelehtii sinilevän värjäämässä merivedessä Lauttasaaren rannassa Helsingissä
The situation at Lauttasaari beach on 12 July. Image: Jussi NUkari / Lehtikuva

Almost the entire Gulf of Finland has been infested with cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, according to monitoring information obtained by the Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE.

Senior researcher Seppo Knuutila described the situation as exceptional.

“This hasn’t happened this decade,” he told Yle in an interview Saturday.

According to SYKE the algae has also made substantial incursions into inland water bodies.

Knuutila said that the current situation in the Gulf of Finland is the result of heavy phosphorous concentrations that came from the deep sea basin of the Baltic Sea in autumn 2016. He added that The Baltic has extensive oxygen-poor areas where phosphorous is being released.

Story continues after photo.

Sinilevää Tuusulanjärvellä Tuusulassa 11. heinäkuuta
Cyanobacteria at Tuusulanjärvi on 11 July. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

“When there is a lot of phosphorous and we get this kind of heat, it creates an ideal environment for blue-green algae,” the researcher added.

With current tropical conditions set to continue for another week, the situation is not likely to improve before the end of July or early August.

The agency has warned holidaymakers against venturing into waters tainted with the blooms as they may cause skin and eye irritation. People should also avoid using algae-infested water for the sauna, for washing dishes or for watering plants.

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