Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 12:55 UK

Algae cleared from Olympic venue

By Quentin Sommerville
BBC News, Qingdao


Before and after - the beach at Qingdao

The Chinese government has successfully cleared tonnes of algae that was blocking the Olympic sailing course in the eastern city of Qingdao.

A special protection zone was set up using a boom and netting.

But in other areas the thick bright green algae is still polluting the beaches.

The Chinese government had set a goal of clearing the sailing area by Tuesday. The Olympic Games begin on 8 August.

Soldiers involved

The water at the Olympic sailing course in Qingdao is now largely algae free.

Some 10,000 troops from the People's Liberation Army have lifted over half a million tonnes of the thick heavy weed from the coastline.

Soldiers remove algae from a beach in Qingdao on 5 July 2008
Thousands of young soldiers worked to remove the green weed

A boom and netting is stopping more of the algae coming ashore.

Olympic sailing teams here say they can now train and will be able to compete in Qingdao's waters.

But at beaches not protected by the boom, the algae is still coming in.

China says it is a naturally occurring, though rare, phenomenon. Environmentalists blame pollution.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific