Weekend winds didn't bring cyanobacteria to beaches

Sunbathers and swimmers on an Estonian beach.
Sunbathers and swimmers on an Estonian beach. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) did not spoil the beach weather in Tallinn on Sunday, July 26, thoughyellow flags fluttered on several beaches, primarily due to the cool water temperature. Blue-green algae still exists in sea, but conditions did not favor it washing up on the shorelines.

On Pirita beach in Tallinn, people enjoyed the hot weather on Sunday, with many also paddling in the 18-degree water ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

"The water temperature is low and there is a danger of blue-green algae, though the water here is clean. However, water around the [offshore] buoys is already black, so we are afraid that the blue-green algae may still be on the beach. A red flag was not put up because algae is not visible directly on the shore," lifeguard Kermo Sepp told AK.

A week ago, blue-green algae could be spotted from the shore, but this weekend the water seemed clear.

According to Simmo Saar, Head of Communications at the Health Board (Terviseamet), blue-green algae comes and goes depending on the wind. "Usually, a large pool of blue-green algae is located offshore, then it comes to the beach, but when the wind direction changes, the blue-green algae moves back to where it came from."

Most cyanobacteria strains are not toxic, he added.

"There are a couple of thousand different species of cyanobacteria, and only a few of them produce toxins, and even they don't always," Saar said.

According to Kalle Olli, Head of the Chair of Hydrobiology and Fisheries at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, it is necessary to perform a toxin analysis in the laboratory to determine the danger of cyanobacteria, which can take a few days. "Therefore, people need to be careful and, if possible, not go swimming in muddy water."

According to Simmo Saar, the primary risk groups for cyanobacteria are children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases, as well as pets. "It is really dangerous for animals because when a dog swims in water, then licks themselves, in the case of cyanobacteria, poisoning can happen orally" he noted.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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