River in Brazil turned bright green after an invasion of toxic algae.
The Tiete River, which runs for more than 1,000km through Sao Paulo State, is said to be suffering from an uncontrolled spreading of microalgae and water hyacinth.
Grim video footage filmed in a stretch in Novo Horizonte by environmentalists shows the thick, syrup-like algae clinging to the oars of a boat as it navigates the waterway.
Other images show scores of dead fish washed up on the river’s banks, said to have been killed by a change in the oxygen balance in the water caused by the pollution.
The river, the most important commercial waterway in the region, used to teem with fish and wildlife.
But decades of industrial pollution and developments like hydroelectric power stations have, say environmentalists, degraded the river.
The Sae Paulo State Environmental Company of the State (Cetesb) has blamed the latest disaster on green algae pollution.
Water hyacinths which block free-flowing waters and massively reduce the water’s oxygen content have also been responsible for fish deaths, reports local media.
Cetesb told local media that the massive invasion of microalgae results from the enrichment of the water with nutrients, mainly phosphorus and nitrogen.
Human waste and farming fertiliser combined with rising temperatures can cause the rapid growth of green algae.
As algae toxins are released into the water they can kill off fish and animals in huge numbers and even spread through the air to humans living by polluted waterways,
Cetesb said that in environments with stagnant water, such as hydroelectric reservoirs, the phenomenon can be even more drastic.
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