Experts from the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, Peking University and Tsinghua University have been
discussing the bloom of blue-green algae afflicting Taihu Lake.
They have identified the algae as microcystis.
Professor Yu Shunzhang from Fudan University told China Daily that
microcystis is the most poisonous of blue-green algae, giving out microcystin, a
poisonous substance harmful to both plant and animal life.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences' ecology center tested water from the lake,
from which the Gonghu Tap Water Firm sources its raw material.
They discovered that every liter of water contained 0.06 mg of microcystin.
The national and World Trade Organization quality standard for surface water is
1 mg per liter.
"Since we have tested lake water, it is safe to assume that the tap water in
Wuxi is very safe," Yu said. "And water from the lake goes through several
processing procedures before it becomes tap water."
According to information from Wuxi's disease control center, there has been
no change in the frequency of epidemic diseases related to drinking water this
Yu attributed the bloom to a high concentration of nutrients off which the
blue-green algae feed. The condition is known as rich nutritional pollution.
Industrial pollution and human waste have introduced large amounts of
phosphorus into the water, which nourishes the algae. However, rich nutritional
pollution has become increasingly evident in the past few years. Experts warned
that if pollution emissions cannot be controlled in the short term, blooms of
blue-green algae will happen again.
A man surnamed Ding from Wuxi was arrested on June 6 for distributing mobile
phone text messages that claimed Taihu Lake contained large amounts of
cancer-causing chemicals, which was later proved to be untrue.
The text message quickly made its way around Wuxi over the course of several
days, causing a general panic. Police traced the message back to Ding before
making an arrest.
The message said Taihu water contained "200 times more harmful material than
the national standard", but the Wuxi disease control center rejected these
The temperature in Wuxi has risen past 31 C in the past few days. The heat
wave could also lead to fresh blooms of blue-green algae, experts warned.
(China Daily 06/13/2007 page4)