China: Olympic sailing site cleared of algae
The site of the Olympic sailing competition is "basically" free of the bright-green algae bloom that recently carpeted the sea off the Chinese city of Qingdao, an official said Tuesday.
The sea-blanketing algae bloom, which officials blamed on natural causes, had disrupted practice for the more than 30 Olympic sailing teams already there, reported CNN.
The Chinese government had set a goal of clearing the sailing area by Tuesday.
"Now it's totally different from several days ago. It's hard to find the green algae, especially in the Olympics sailing site," Wang Haitao, vice president of the sailing committee for China's games organizing committee, told The Associated Press by telephone.
In an extreme effort to save the site for next month's Olympics, the Chinese government in past weeks called on thousands of soldiers, volunteers and fishing boats to help remove the algae.
While the site of the Olympic competition is clear, the cleanup continues outside the barrier of fishnets and canvas being used to keep the algae out of the competition area.
"Yesterday, we sent out 1,700 fishing boats to search for algae over the whole sea area in Qingdao, but they only got 10,000 tons," Wang said. "Compared with days before, that's big progress."
Thirty-seven national teams are now training at the site, he said.
Some of the athletes reported success as well.
"We are happy to report that the algae outbreak seems to have been successfully tackled by the hundreds of dedicated ships, fishing boats and thousands of workers," American sailor Carrie Howe said on her team's Web site Monday.
The Olympic Games open August 8 in Beijing, and the sailing competition off Qingdao begins the next day.