Chennai

Sewage triggers foam on Marina beach

Risky business: Beach-goers frolic in the foam at Marina beach on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

On Thursday afternoon, hundreds of visitors to the Marina beach were surprised to see the the shore filled with foam. Experts said it could be due to the city’s sewage.

“The foam was very thick and a lot of people were seen playing in it and taking selfies. There was no smell,” said B. Murugan, who was at the Marina around 4 p.m.

“Beyond the foam, the water was dark grey in colour. Fishermen could be seen in the bay,” said S. Karthik, another visitor. The foam covered an area of about 50 feet from the shoreline, they said.

M.V. Ramana Murthy, Director, National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) said that such foaming was a common feature during the first spell of monsoon. “When large quantities of pollutants (sewage) from the Cooum and Adyar rivers are washed ashore and the sea water churns because of high winds, foaming occurs. Since the coastal currents are moving south, the foam has surfaced on the Marina,” he explained.

Pravakar Mishra, scientist, NCCR, whose team monitors the city’s beaches, said that there could be several reasons for such foaming to happen, including sudden bloom of phytoplankton.

“But that happens only in January-end. This time the sea foam (or ocean foam or beach foam), or just spume could have been created by the agitation of seawater due to high winds, and high concentration of microbes from the sewage that are let out into the rivers. This could also be due to phosphate from the detergents let into the sewage,” he said.

Residents should not venture into the foam since it could cause skin diseases, Mr. Mishra said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 9:58:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/sewage-triggers-foam-on-marina-beach/article25571636.ece

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