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Toxic algae warning in Diss

PUBLISHED: 13:35 16 July 2010 | UPDATED: 20:24 01 August 2010

Families are being urged to refrain from feeding bread to the ducks after a toxic algae returned to Diss Mere.

The outbreak of blue-green algae has become an annual summertime issue in the water body, which thrives in warm temperatures and sunny conditions.

Families are being urged to refrain from feeding bread to the ducks after a toxic algae returned to Diss Mere.

The outbreak of blue-green algae has become an annual summertime issue in the water body, which thrives in warm temperatures and sunny conditions.

Town leaders, who are investigating a solution to the problem, have called on residents and visitors to resist from feeding the waterfowl bread, which is fuelling the algae blooms with high nutrient levels.

Diss Town Council is set to place a new information board in the Mere's Mouth warning people of the dangers and will also ask traders to get involved in a scheme selling duck pellets, which are less harmful to the water than bread.

The reminder comes after the town council identified a solution to the blue-green algae problem after commissioning water solution company Phoslock to help clean up the mere. However, the treatment, which would absorb the excess nutrients and last for five years, would cost the council almost £20,000.

Town clerk Deborah Sarson said they were exploring funding options, but there was “no quick win.” She added that in the interim, the council was trying to raise public awareness of the algae problem and had no plans to ban duck feeding.

“The ideal solution would be to ban the feeding of ducks so they move on to other water bodies and allow the water to rest, which would be hugely unpopular and that would have a detrimental impact on the local economy at a time when we are trying to promote the town,” she said.

Blue-green algae can prove fatal to dogs and fish if blooms out of control and can cause skin irritation and stomach upsets in humans.

The problem has led to the cancellation of a Newfoundland dogs display as part of the Diss Carnival celebrations and scuppered the potential for water sports on the mere. Other solutions include the use of floating barley straw bales or solar energy unit to prevent blooms.


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