Yellow flags hoisted on popular Pärnu beach after cyanobacteria spotted

Pärnu beach on Sunday.
Pärnu beach on Sunday. Source: ERR

A hot summer weekend attracted many to the shores of resort town Pärnu to bathe and cool off, regardless of yellow flags hoisted after indicators of blue-green algae were discovered.

A fluttering yellow flag was raised above the beaches of Pärnu, even though the Health Board (Terviseamet) had not officially confirmed a spread of cyanobacteria in the water.

The coast guard noticed indicators of the bacteria on Sunday morning, leading to the flag being hoisted.

Markus Ollino, shift manager of G4S Coast Guard, said: "You could see it in the water, yes, little green flakes and bodies. It is blue-green algae."

Cyanobacteria has been an issue on Estonian coastlines all summer, with warnings dating back to June 16. While the bacteria does not often lead to beach closures, it is recommended to be avoided, assuming anyone would want to swim in such conditions in the first place.

Other than that, the coast guard has had a relatively calm summer. Ollino says there have been cases that need to be solved, but those are mainly regarding people bringing dogs on beaches and leaving glass bottles behind.

Ollino added: "One more thing is that children go on the sea with mattress floats, we've had to bring a few back to shore. But no major drowning situations yet, everything has gone according to plan."

While the situation at beaches and swimming spots has been calm this year, ERR News wrote on July 20 that more people have already drowned this year than in 2019.

As of July 20, 37 people had drowned in Estonia, compared with a total 36 people in 2019.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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