Cyanobacteria, also known as blue algae, has already appeared on the water’s surface in the Western part of Lake Balaton. According to CER Balaton Limological Institute (BLI), blue algae could cause rash, eye irritation, and diarrhea, thus it would be important to check the water quality of the beaches weekly.
Recently, many reports have been received from the Alsóbélatelep, Fonyód, Balatonmáriafürdő, Balatongyörök, Vonyarcvashegy, Balatonfenyves, Balatonszárszó, Balatonszemes, and Balatonboglár areas to the institute in Tihany that algae blooms have been observed along the shores.
One of the reasons for this is nutrient overloading through fertilizers being washed into the water, as phosphorous and nitrogen can lead to the growth of massive colonies of algae. As they are depleting oxygen in the water, they can be harmful and toxic to marine life and humans as well.
According to the BLI report, based on the researchers’ measurements on Tuesday, this phenomenon was also observed in the Keszthely-basin in the middle of Lake Balaton. There isn’t a large algae mass present in the water yet, but the amount of algae in the western areas of the lake has started to grow exponentially.
However, an American research team examined 71 lakes in 33 countries recently, and according to the results, Lake Balaton is still among the six out of the 71 studied lakes which showed sustained improvements in water quality.
Blue algae’s toxin could cause allergic skin reactions, rashes, and eye irritation in bathers, which can be avoided by taking a shower after swimming, Lajos Vörös research professor (BLI) said. If young children swallow this water, the toxin entering their bodies could cause diarrhea. Therefore, it would be advisable to check the water quality of the beaches at least once a week, he emphasized.
Featured photo illustration by György Varga/MTI.