We are in today’s Times newspaper, and Dave Cabeldu, SOS Jersey’s Co-ordinator, gets an honourable mention:
Here’s the article:
It is green, slimy and smells of rotten eggs. Now a warning has been issued that seaweed that has taken over a bay on Jersey’s south coast could also be harmful to humans.
The warning comes after the death of a jogger in Brittany on the opposite side of the Bay of St Malo. In September Jean-René Auffray, 50, was out running with his dog on the Gouessant estuary near Saint-Brieuc when he collapsed.
His death was put down to a heart attack but conservationists pointed out that it was the same stretch where 36 wild boar had been killed in 2011 by fumes from rotting seaweed. A horse also died and its rider was rendered unconscious on a nearby beach covered in the same bright green sea lettuce.
Nine French experts including four toxicologists claimed last week that it was likely that Auffray had been overcome by hydrogen sulphide fumes “as deadly as cyanide”.
The proliferation of the weed, Ulva lactuca, a form of algae, is the result of nitrate pollution caused by intensive pig and poultry farming.
Campaigners in Jersey claim that the thick green layer that has coated St Aubin’s Bay near St Helier is the result of the discharge of 18 million gallons a day of partly treated sewage and waste water. The waste has high concentrations of nitrates and ammonia, creating a potent fertiliser on which the sea lettuce thrives.
The island’s response has been to use tractors to push the seaweed down to the low-tide line in the hope that it will be washed away.
But Dave Cabeldu, of Save Our Shoreline Jersey, said: “Nothing gets washed away. It just gets washed back up the beach.” He claims that the source is a sewage treatment plant in Bellozane Valley: “It’s obvious where it comes from because it radiates out from the sewerage outfall.”
Stewart Petrie, director of Jersey’s environmental health department, said: “If I feel there is a risk to public health, because of the accumulation being so big or because somebody is diving into the seaweed, there’s a protocol to request the seaweed be removed on public health grounds.
“If the build-up was getting towards that kind of level, which is unlikely, we would have it moved.”