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UK-China Bridge project comes to Lake Windermere

Story supplied by LU Press Office

Professor Gang Pan from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing with the Mayor of Windermere Joan Stocker Professor Gang Pan from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing with the Mayor of Windermere Joan Stocker

The problem of algal bloom contamination in lakes was the topic of a one day meeting in the Lake District between scientists from the UK and China together with members of the local community.

The initiative is part of the UK-China Bridge project to share expertise between the two countries.

Professor Gang Pan from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing is an expert in lake contamination and has devised equipment to clean up Lake Taihu in Jiangsu Province. The lake is the size of the entire Lake District and had turned green because of the algae, which is harmful to fish.

He joined Professors Phil Haygarth, Roger Pickup and Dr Maria Fernanda Aller from Lancaster University, Professor Stephen Maberly from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and local representatives including the Mayor of Windermere Joan Stocker, Nigel Wilkinson from Windermere Lake Cruises and Bob Cartwright, Director of Park Services at the Lake District National Park Authority.

They met in Ambleside to discuss common solutions to lake bloom algae before taking a cruise on Lake Windermere.

Professor Haygarth said: "Algal blooms are a potential health hazard and can be toxic - they have even been known to kill animals. Last year the Great North Swim was called off because of algae in the water.

"Human activity is making the problem worse because the bloom is caused by phosphorus and nitrogen from run-off from agricultural land and sewage discharge seeping into the lake."

The Mayor of Windermere Joan Stocker said the meeting had been useful.

"What we've learned from China is the work that they've done very quickly to solve their problems and we need to share more of that information."

This was a reciprocal visit following a trip by Lancaster researchers to meet Professor Gang Pan and the Mayor of Wuxi at Lake Taihu last year.

Professor Haygarth said: "We are working together to find a solution by managing phosphorus reserves better so they don't leak into rivers and lakes, but Professor Gang's approach is different - he is cleaning up Lake Taihu - so we can both learn from each other."

Thu 22 December 2011

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