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

 

Eddie Izzard: UK Comedy Legend Returns

Hailed as one of the foremost stand up comedians of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion Icon... February 2015, Eddie Izzard will bring his massive FORCE MAJEURE world tour to New Zealand with tickets going on sale at 10am on Tuesday 28th October. More>>

Festival Starts 28 Oct: Improv Fest Makes Up New Show

For any other festival, finding out less than two weeks from showtime that half the cast of a programmed show can’t make it to New Zealand would be a nightmare. Instead, the New Zealand Improv Festival Director Jennifer O’Sullivan saw an opportunity ... More>>

NZ Music Awards Finalists: Lorde, Sol3 Mio Top 2014 Tuis Charge

Lorde has taken the music world by storm during the past year and she co-leads the 2014 Tui charge with five finalist spots. Joining her is newcomer family opera trio, Sol3 Mio. They are followed closely by Ladi6 and David Dallas, both up for four awards each. More>>

From 'Luther' Creator: Major New Zealand Crime Series For BBC

Libertine Pictures and writer Neil Cross have teamed up with leading international TV producer Carnival Films to develop a major new crime series set in Rotorua. Libertine will develop the contemporary drama series with Carnival, producer of internationally-acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey, for the BBC. More>>

ALSO:

Family Statement: Death Of Ewen Gilmour

“Ewen was a much loved and cherished member of our family, he was a larger than life character and by his very nature was kind, generous and always giving of his time to those who asked for his help." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival - Line-Up Announced

Traversing seven cities and three countries, the festival has well and truly settled into its home in each state. From the grassy knolls and towering silos at home in Auckland, to the sparkling backdrop of the Maribyrnong... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news