Chinese Beachgoers Swallowed By Tsunami Of Green Sea Snot

Thanks to a massive algae bloom off the coast of China, people hoping for a day at the beach instead find themselves frolicking in gooey green shag. The best part is that the mutant mucous is likely a result of human waste in the water.

1. An algae bloom twice the size of Los Angeles, nearly 11,500 square miles, has been invading Chinese waterfronts for nearly a month now.

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A public beach in Qingdao, northeast China’s Shandong province on July 4, 2013.

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2. Despite bulldozers and pitchfork brigades, the ceaseless tide of plantlife continues to clog beaches around Qingdao in northeast China. It’s reported to be 16 inches thick in some areas.

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3. But since the algae poses no danger to humans, people have been making the most of the slippery slime, rolling around in it as though it were viscuos, verdant carpeting.

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4. The scientific name for the algae is enteromorpha prolifera, but locals call it “hutai.”

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5. Hutai is actually a bit of a delicacy in some parts of China. Some enterprising farmers have been harvesting the sludge to use as feed.

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6. Users of social media site Weibo have even been swapping hutai guacamole recipes in response to the billowing booger bloom.

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7. This is the 7th year in a row the algae onslaught has buried Qingdao (which, fittingly, means “Green Island.”) Qingdao actually has a series of underwater nets to try and stop the sudsy scum, but this year the swell of slime overwhelmed their defenses.

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8. Temperatures are currently ideal for the algae, with the water at 68 degrees or so.

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9. As summer progresses and temperatures rise to above 73 degrees, the algae will naturally die off.

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10. As to why the algae is setting records, with hundreds of tons of the gloop being hauled off every day, scientists blame an overabundance of phosphorus in the water.

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11. Why is there so much phosphorus? The culprits are likely industrial pollutants…

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12. And human waste. Yum.

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Gavon Laessig is a deputy news director and front page editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Gavon Laessig at

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