Tinside to stay closed as health 'threat' checked
TINSIDE pool will remain closed until health officials can confirm an algae bloom in the Sound does not pose a threat.
On Friday the authority's deputy leader, Councillor Peter Smith, took the decision to postpone the opening of the popular attraction after the bloom - made up of plankton - appeared off the city foreshore.
While marine scientists in Plymouth moved to allay fears stating that the plankton is "harmless" and "not toxic", Cllr Smith closed the seafront lido – which is filled with water from the Sound – after receiving conflicting advice from the Environment Agency and the Health Protection Agency.
"As soon as we get the all-clear from the health officials we'll re-open it," Cllr Smith said.
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"We were getting advice from them on Friday and that is when we decided to close it.
"The pool is all ready to re-open and, once we are told the plankton has gone, we'll do just that."
On Friday evening Plymouth City Council and the agencies issued advice after the bloom was found to contain 12 different species of algae.
In a statement the city council warned the bloom can cause nausea, dizziness or loss of memory.
"There is also a possibility that scum or foam, which can come ashore on beaches, can cause irritation to some people with very sensitive skin," added a spokesman for the authority.
The Environment Agency said it believes the bloom is present only in the "Plymouth bay" and has not stretched to other outlying areas.
Last week The Herald received numerous calls from members of the public expressing concerns about the algae bloom. Some thought the bloom was in fact oil pollution.
But marine experts at Plymouth's Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) analysed the brown scum and found it to be plankton, or algae, and not pollution.
"Local residents may have noticed a brown scum that has enveloped the Plymouth shoreline in the past couple of days, and while it may not look very nice it is harmless and natural," said Gemma Brice, a plankton analyst at the SAHFOS last week.
"The scum has been caused by microscopic phytoplankton algae which has been in its spring bloom."
Phytoplankton are essentially the plants of the sea – they produce over 50 per cent of the world's oxygen.
Given the right conditions the phytoplankton will grow to large numbers - creating a bloom.
Gemma said the recent hot weather, combined with nutrients in the water, had caused the bloom to grow.
While the bloom is not toxic, it would not be very pleasant to swim in, Gemma added.