Hot weather has played a low-down trick with vacationers of Chinese resort Qingdao. High temperature lasted so long that Yellow Sea effloresced and turned into a huge swamp: green carpet of seaweed instead of clear water and mountains of wrack instead of sea foam on the beach. According to Chinese mass media, about five thousand tons of "greens" get remove from the beaches every day.

Meanwhile, summer in Ukraine is at the very height. Temperature of Dnipro water near Kyiv reaches 25 degrees, and citizens of the capital use  the opportunity to spend weekends and holidays on the city beaches. But the questions are whether Dnipro faces the fate of Yellow Sea and how long the beach season will please Ukrainians this year. ForUm has tried to answer these questions
Passport is not everything
Traditionally, the beach season lasts in Kyiv from May 15 to September 15. However, the terms are provisory and serve as a mark for city officials. Most often the beaches opens with delayed (either the weather discourages or communal workers does not make it in time to prepare the territory) and close before due time (for example, because of algal bloom).

This year the beach season started at the end of May - beginning of June. Kyiv authorities blamed the flood, like, risen water level in Dnipro impeded to clean the bed, and heavy rains worsened the bacteriological index of surface waters. As of June 9, only seven beaches out of eleven received passports. One more city beach was opened somewhat later, while the rest did not meet the sanitary standards. In particular, water contamination exceeded permissible content of coliform bacillus, which may cause acute intestinal diseases, first deputy director of communal enterprise "Pleso" Khvicha Meparashvili told ForUm. 

Head of the Kyiv department of All-Ukrainian public ecological organization "Mama-86" Natalia Chizhmakova also warns about risks to swim in the contaminated water. "High level of fecal water pollution increases the risk to get intestinal infections, including cholera," she warns.

However, absence of sanitary passports has never impeded Kyiv residents to go to the beach. The key factor for beachgoers include warmth of the water, not its bacteriological index. Ukrainians behave like Chinese tourists, who shock the world with the pictures on which they are swimming in the green mass of  blooming water or wrapping seaweed carpet around them.

However, the situation in Kyiv is not that sad. In recent years the State Sanitary and Epidemiologic Service issue passports more often. Thus, in 2007 and 2008 only three and two beaches respectively were officially opened, thus seven permissions given  this year can be considered a progress.

"It does not mean that the standards and requirements have been lowered. Sanitary services continue regularly inspect us and give task plans to accomplish. For example, following the given recommendations "Pleso" started last year to install additional monoblock toilets," Meparashvili told ForUm.

Water blooming is coming

So, the beach season has finally started. Now the question is how long it will last. People ignore it, but Dnipro water has already started to bloom - blue-green algae reproduce actively and cover more and more surface with every passing day. The blooming peak falls within the end of July - beginning of September. Then the water clears and beach season may be resumed. However, the intensity and length of blooming period is always different, as well as its consequences. Thus, in 2010 the high temperature lasted for two months and water cleared only in October. The beach season never resumed that year. Similar situation happened in the end of July, when the Sanitary Service prohibited swimming on all eleven beaches.

"Intensity of blooming this year will be high, as the weather forecast predicts 30 degree temperature till the end of August. However, thanks to the flowage of Dnipro the situation will not be as bad as in Kakhov, Kremenchug and Kyiv water reservoirs. Moreover, the intensity of blooming will depend on precipitations. If it rains heavily the water will become muddy, and blue-green algae do not multiply in such water," ecologist and professor of Hydrobiology Institute Volodymyr Shcherbak told ForUm.

According to him, under 25 degrees and higher algae live for several days only and then start dying. "For organic matters to decompose, a lot of oxygen is needed. Low content of oxygen in water may worsen its quality. It mostly concerns dead water, like in Rusanvski canals and Venice bay. When decomposing, algae produce phenols and benzols, which are harmful for men. People suffering allergies should avoid swimming in this period," he underlined.
The scientist also reminds that discharge of phosphates and misuse of water also provoke active blooming, in particular, housing development on river banks and floating restaurants which discharge untreated waste right in the river. "We have very good nature protection laws, but nobody observes them," Shcherbak complains.

Ecologist Chizhmakova agrees and adds that not only state officials, but also regular citizens must bear responsibility for water pollution.  "Communal enterprises do carry out works on cleaning beach territories, but beachgoers treat beaches as landfills. Some days ago we held an action "With love to Dnipro" on Obolon river shore. The quantity of garbage we collected on the territory of small bay Natalka is impressive. No communal services can solve this problem alone," she says.

In this respect ForUm's journalists call upon Kyiv residents not to contaminate water bodies of the capital. As we can see, the duration of beach season directly depends on how we treat rivers and lakes. Leaving garbage on the beach or throwing it in the water we take a hand in growth of malignant bacteria, which in turn invade swimmers and all those who use Dnipro water.

Alina Yeremeyeva


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