12/02/2019, 09.50
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Toxic foam on Chennai beach. Unsuspecting children dive into the waves

The foam reportedly caused by illegal discharges from hospitals and factories. The toxicity levels of the Adyar River, which flows into Marina Beach, are being investigated. Signaling buoys to monitor and prevent pollution of marine waters.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the second time in a month, Chennai beach has been covered with a blanket of toxic foam. According to the fishermen, the foam would be caused by illegal dumping of waste from hospitals and factories in the city, the largest on the east coast of India.

For a few days the toxic coat attracted the attention of the country's newspapers, making headlines. The surreal show also intrigued many children, who threw themselves joyfully into the polluted waters, unaware of the dangers to their health.

The first case of toxic foam had occurred on October 30. The day before yesterday, Marina Beach, a well-known tourist resort in the city, woke up covered in a white cloak. At least seven kilometers of beaches were impassable due to the foam, from Foreshore Estate to Tiruvanmiyur.

According to experts, the toxic liquid would come from processing waste from companies located along the Adyar river basin, whose estuary flows into Marina Beach.

The authorities ordered fishermen not to venture into the sea, given the heavy rainfall of the period. Workers also fear a decrease in earnings due to the toxicity of the water. K Bharathi, of the South Indian Fisher Welfare Federation, reports that "although the foam will have no effect on fishing activities, buyers could reduce the purchase [of fish products]".

Pravakar Mishra, of the National Center for Coastal Research (NCCR), believes that the frequency with which the beaches of the capital of Tamil Nadu are covered with toxic foam is "worrying. We are planning to install some signaling buoys to monitor and predict the quality of marine waters ". According to the expert, the sensors should signal the level of pollution based on seven factors: pH, turbidity, chlorophyll and oxygen levels.

For biologists, the high levels of phosphate present in the water cause serious skin problems. The most at risk are children, who could develop skin infections.

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