News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Potentially toxic algae found in Whakatane River

Potentially toxic algae found in Whakatane River around Ruatoki Bridge

Routine monitoring by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has identified potentially toxic algal mats covering the bed of the Whakatane River, near Ruatoki Bridge in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The local council has placed warning signs at the area most affected.

People are advised to avoid contact with this section of the Whakatane River and be on the lookout for algal mats elsewhere in the river.

Toxic algae (cyanobacteria) often multiply to excessive levels during periods of warm, dry, sunny weather when rivers levels are low. In rivers they can form extensive black or brownish slime-like mats that cling to rocks and logs. Significant clumps sometimes break off and float free, eventually collecting on vegetation at the water's edge.

“The algae that form the mats can release toxins that are potentially harmful to people and animals,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health. Cyanobacteria toxins can trigger asthma and hayfever attacks in susceptible individuals, as well as causing skin rashes, stomach upsets, and even neurological effects such as tingling round the mouth, headaches, general breathing difficulties and visual problems.

People are advised not to paddle, wade, swim, or participate in any recreational activity that might involve significant contact with the cyanobacteria mats or swallowing of raw river water. The health warning also includes people keeping their pets and livestock out of the river. “Highest risk areas tend to be shallow river margins where infants and dogs are most likely to come in contact with the mats,” says Dr Miller.

As a similar problem could occur in other areas of the river at any time, Dr Miller advises people to make their own visual assessment of the river and avoid diving in if black and brown algal mats are found covering large areas of the river bed. People should also avoid swimming in or drinking river water that has a strange musty smell. “If in doubt, go somewhere else,” he says.

Anyone suffering illness after contact with the Whakatane River should seek medical advice.

For more information and images of toxic algae mats go to:
www.ttophs.govt.nz/recreational_water or
www.boprc.govt.nz/environment/rivers-and-drainage/rivers-health-warning/

Cyanobacterial mats vary from dark brown/black and are moss like in appearance, thickness and colour (black to dark green) but have a much slimier texture and glisten when exposed to air. In shallow areas the mats may appear bleached and take on a golden brown colour. The mats are easily dislodged from the riverbed and form floating ‘rafts’.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news