Las Teresitas beach beset by mystery pollution

UPDATE 9 October: The beach has been reopened now that the Public Health authorities have confirmed the absence of any patches of contamination. Future closures are still considered possible, however, if further appearances occur.

Analytical tests are still being carried out on samples of the previous pollution, though it appears as if the problem could be microalgae which produce toxins at 26º or more capable of causing skin reactions. Professor of Plant Biology at ULL, Julio Afonso-Carrillo, indicated that in some tropical regions there are algae invisible to the naked eye but which cause skin and eye irritation. These have never been seen in the Canaries before. The Professor said that if this were to be the case, it would be a strong indication of climate change.

The authorities are still considering the possibility, however, that the problem is caused by waste spillage, but this is strongly denied by the company Emmasa.  La Opinion

UPDATE: The beach has been partially closed again after further patches of contamination were found. The closure will affect the northern part of the beach from the red cross station.  La Opinion

Original post 6 October: Las Teresitas beach has been opened to public bathing again, the Public Health authorities have announced, though a close watch is to be kept on the situation in a co-ordinated effort between the authorities and the Red Cross. The beach was originally closed after tens of bathers complained of a stinging sensation and skin problems after the appearance of a mysterious patch of pollution, as posted HERE.

In a letter to the Santa Cruz Ayuntamiento Councillor of Environmental Quality and Health, Ilda López, the Director General of Salud Pública, Enrique Torres Lana, has said that the results of the analysis of the samples collected both on 3 October and yesterday show very low levels of fecal content. This indicates that the problem was not due to a sewage leak. The letter also confirmed that the patch of contamination has now disappeared from within 50 metres of the coast, and the sea colour is back to normal. There is also no evidence of oils, foams, nor cloudiness in the water.

The Health Department is continuing its efforts to identify the causes of skin problems suffered by 17 bathers in Las Teresitas’ waters at the end of last week.  Canarias24Horas

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