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Possible bloom of Blue Green algae at Cairngorms beauty spot


By Gavin Musgrove

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Visitors to Badenoch and Strathspey's most popular loch are being warned to be on their guard against a possible outbreak of the dangerous Blue Green algae.

Loch Morlich is a popular spot with sun-worshippers and the beach is reported to be busy today (library image)
Loch Morlich is a popular spot with sun-worshippers and the beach is reported to be busy today (library image)

Samples taken at Loch Morlich have indicated the presence of the algae which can cause people to become seriously ill and kill dogs.

Highland Council issued the warning this afternoon.

A spokesperson said: "During this current period of prolonged warm weather, the chance of Blue Green algae (cyanobacteria) affecting water courses, particularly ponds, lochs and canals as well as rivers, increases significantly.

"Sometimes the blue green algae can form blooms, which can release toxins into the water.

"Contact with blue-green algae can have health effects for humans and animals.

"The situation is being investigated by Highland Council Environmental Health Department in partnership with NHS Highland Public Health Department and wider colleagues.

"As a precautionary measure contact with the algal scum should be avoided by people and pets.

"Notices will be posted next to the lochwarning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided."

Highland Council said the actions being taken currently are precautionary.

The behaviour of algae is erratic. The level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and mixing and re-accumulate at any time.

Blue Green algae are noticed when their concentrations increase to form “blooms” and when they form scums – looking like blue-green paint – or when they collect on the shore line.

Some blue-green algae may give rise to adverse medical effects – but not always.

Effects on people coming into contact with toxic scums include skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and pains in muscles and joints. Toxic algae have caused deaths of livestock and dogs, waterbirds and fish.



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