Austrians complain:

Algae slime spoils bathing fun on the Adriatic

10.07.2024 19:27

Green-grey "sea slime" continues to spread off the coast of Italy and is now spoiling bathing fun for many Austrians.

It feels slippery on the skin and covers large parts of the water surface: algae slime is currently preventing many holidaymakers, including many Austrians, from going into the water on the Adriatic. "Anyone who does venture into the sea tries to avoid the slime or wade through it," says a holidaymaker from Vienna in an interview with the "Krone" newspaper, talking about the muddy bathing fun in Bibione.

Looks and smells bad
Over the past few weeks, the waves have washed the foul-looking and foul-smelling microalgae onto many stretches of beach in the northern Italian regions of Friuli, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna. The regions of Molise, Apulia and Abruzzo have now also been affected. The stinking algae, known in Italian as "musillacini", is also developing on some beaches near Trieste.

In some places, you have to fight your way through a thick layer of algae to be able to swim (symbolic image). (Bild:
In some places, you have to fight your way through a thick layer of algae to be able to swim (symbolic image).

Although they are not a health hazard and appear every year, one thing is certain: Holidaymakers and locals have never experienced them to this extent - aided by rising temperatures and an increased concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus derivatives in the water. In addition, a lot of fresh water has accumulated in the sea due to the heavy rainfall in recent weeks. All of this together acts as an unwanted fertilizer.

Immediate action required
"We can't rely on the weather conditions changing and a storm washing away the mucillagine," says Attilio Rinaldi from the Marine Research Centre in Cesenatico, emphasizing the problem. In view of the critical situation, those affected are calling for immediate action. First and foremost the fishermen! "Everyone is complaining about damage to nets and difficulties in fishing," explains Paolo Tiozzo from the Italian Cooperative for Agriculture and Fisheries. The slime clogs the propellers of small boats in particular, making it almost impossible to clean the mechanical parts.

Tourism also suffers, as the unsightly, sticky "sea snot" - as holidaymakers have taken to calling it themselves - deters bathers. Beaches remain empty. For many coastal resorts that rely on summer tourism, this means considerable financial losses. We can only hope that the algae nightmare will soon come to an end.

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