Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Toxic algae found in Waimana River

MEDIA RELEASE 18 DECEMBER 2008


HEALTH WARNING: Toxic algae found in Waimana River


Potentially toxic algal mats have been found covering the bed of the Waimana River in the Eastern Bay of Plenty during an inspection by scientists from Environment Bay of Plenty. Areas worst affected include river sections downstream of the Waimana township near Wardlaw and Kirkbride Roads.

People are advised to avoid contact with this section of the Waimana River and be on the lookout for the toxic 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.

“At this stage the Waimana River contains the most extensive mats although other rivers, including the upper Rangitaiki, are showing early signs of mat development” says Toi Te Ora – Public Health Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack.

“The toxic algae that form the mats can release toxins that are potentially harmful to people and animals. Last summer a similar problem occurred in the Rangitaiki River, and on that occasion a dog died following exposure to the algae,” says Dr Shoemack.

Cyanobacteria toxins can trigger asthma and hayfever attacks in susceptible individuals, as well as causing skin rashes, tummy upsets, and even neurological effects such as tingling round the mouth, headaches, general breathing difficulties and visual problems.

“People need to take steps to prevent animals, both farm stock as well as pets, from having direct contact with the mats by keeping the animals away from the affected stretch of river.” Highest risk areas tend to be shallow river margins where infants and dogs are most likely to come in contact with the mats. “Anyone that usually draws their domestic drinking water from lower sections of the Waimana River should also find an alternative source,” he says.

As a similar problem could occur in other rivers at any time, Dr Shoemack advises people to make their own visual assessment of a 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.


Image of the toxic algae (cyanobacteria) mats.

The mats are the dark brown/black patches.


For up to date information on recreational water quality go to http://www.envbop.govt.nz/Water/BathingStatus/Swimming-water-quality-.asp.
For video clips and images of toxic algae mats follow the link http://www.envbop.govt.nz/Water/BathingStatus/-Rivers-Health-Warning.asp.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Supermarket Scam, And On Tunisia’s Scrapping Of Democracy

Are we paying too much for our groceries? Hmm. Is the Pope a Catholic? Given that the two Australian supermarket chains that dominate our grocery industry routinely rack up profits in the order of $22 billion annually, that’s a no-brainer. Yet as with New Zealand’s other socio-economic problems created by our 1980s reforms, the practical solutions seem pretty thin on the ground... More>>

 


Government: Welcomes Draft Report On The Retail Grocery Sector

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said... More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty Action Group: Poverty Burden For Children Increased Due To Government Neglect - New Report

Poverty, inequity, homelessness and food insecurity are among the burdens which increased for tamariki Māori and other children in the first year of Covid-19 - partially due to Government neglect... More>>

Government: Cabinet Accepts Turkish Authorities’ Request For The Managed Return Of Three NZ Citizens

Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year... More>>

ALSO:


NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>



Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels