BEIJING — Like a bright green shag carpet mutating uncontrollably, an algae bloom twice the area of Los Angeles County has engulfed the Chinese coast around the city of Qingdao and buried beaches knee-high in grass-like material.
Bulldozers and brigades of workers with pitchforks have been deployed to clean up the algae, calledEnteromorpha prolifera, which began to appear a month ago. Though crews are hauling away hundreds of tons of the material per day, it’s unclear whether they’re even keeping pace with the growth.
The algae, known as hutai in Mandarin, is now covering an area of some 11,500 square miles. Scientists say the growth is spurred by an abundance of phosphorus and other nutrients in the water, probably from agricultural runoff, industrial pollution or even human waste.
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