An officer at the Division of Public Health and Environment told The Phuket News that a campaign had been launched to clear the algae from the bay.
“Our staff collect the algae two times every day. The first time is 8-10am and the second time is 2-3pm,” she explained.
“If we do not collect the algae, it will start to rot and make a bad smell along the beach,” she said.
The algae is collected from where it washes up onto the sand, and some officers venture out into the shallow water with a net and haul the algae caught up onto the beach, the officer added.
Asked where the algae came from, the officer replied, “The algae bloom occurs every year, around February to March. I’m not sure if it grows in the shallow water or if it comes from deeper waters.”
Early last week, respected marine life expert Dr Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, Chief of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) identified wastewater released into the sea as among the key contributing factors leading to red sea urchins being washed ashore at Patong Beach.
“The phenomenon of sea urchins stranded on the beach is explained by the phenomena of these algae blooms, together with this period being the spring tide with high tides,” he added.
“For algae to be able to bloom, it needs food like fertilizer we use to feed plants,” he said.
“These fertilizers do not come from just anywhere, but are elements of the wastewater that we release into the sea,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nattawut Thepthon, Chief of the Patong Municipality Sanitation Division, later told The Phuket News that wastewater was not a factor for the algae bloom.
“We collect and test samples of the treated wastewater every week, and the result has shown that the water has passed the standard required for treated wastewater,” he said.