BVI News

Algae bacteria turns local ponds pink, residents warned against making contact

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Residents are being warned about making contact with the ponds at Cane Garden and Josiah’s Bay on Tortola at this time.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael gave the warning amidst what is known as an ‘algae bloom’, which has turned sections of these two ponds pink.

“The pink colour of the water is due mainly to what we call blue-green algae. They give different colours. They can have blue, green, yellowish-brown, and pink and the different colours are due to blue-green algae which is a type of bacteria that we call cyanobacteria,” Michael told BVI News on Monday.

Blooms can also affect marine life

Micheal said algae blooms can affect marine life but said there was no fish kill at the Josiah’s Bay pond when it was assessed recently.

“There was an abundance of crab life in the area,” the chief of local environmental health said.

“But all that can change quickly as a result of oxygen depletion, increased temperatures, and salinity. If persons see dead fish and crabs, it shouldn’t be used for consumption and water should not be used for human and non-human contact at this time.”

Michael said algae bloom can happen naturally but man-made activities such as pollution can also trigger algae bloom.

“In our detailed examination of the area to determine point sources and non-point sources of pollution, we did not uncover any point sources or non-point sources of pollution. Therefore, we conclude that it is a natural phenomenon taking place,” he said.

Algae bloom affecting other countires

Micheal told BVI News the phenomenon is also taking place in other Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua.

He further said the lack of rainfall caused the ponds to become divided and only the section where there is no exchange between the sea and the pond is pink.

In the meantime, Marine Biologist in the Conservation Department Argel Horton said the same pink algae bloom were spotted in Cane Garden Bay and from all reports, the bloom started last weekend.

Water quality tests

When asked whether there will be any scientific testing of the water, she said the last water quality test was done last month and no further tests will be done.

“It is a natural thing that occurs,” she reasoned.

“We do water quality testing at the various ponds, and the last one we did I think was last month,” she added.

However, Horton said if tests were to take place, the readings would differ because of the summer season and the elevated heat.

There was a major fish kill at the same pond in Josiah’s Bay last year.

Notably, overseas news reports indicate that toxic algae bloom is affecting the Gulf Coast. Presently, all 21 beaches in Mississippi in the United States are closed to swimming, and both humans and their pets are warned to stay away from the water.

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16 Comments

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  1. Environmental Support says:

    Even the pond is out in bloom supporting breast cancer awareness…

    Like 17
    Dislike 7
  2. lol says:

    dont tell me that the ponds turned gay too……lol

    Like 4
    Dislike 17
  3. Dman says:

    Don’t worry, when the tourists start to go home pink, instead of tan, something will be done!

    Like 1
    Dislike 15
  4. Bunk says:

    Cool. Just the pink lakes in Australia.

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  5. A man says:

    That’s why flamingoes turn pink

    Like 8
    Dislike 8
  6. CGB says:

    The pond in CGB is on private property via a private road. Please respect this.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When free flowing circulation from sea to pond and back is inerrupted and blocked, this is the end result.

    The pond can neither cleanse itself nor rejuvinate its oxygen supply.

    Thus, all llfe matter dies.

    Like 13
  8. Hmmmm says:

    Man somebody doing Bull with the D**n Ponds. Lord if we catch the SOB doing this, The Pond going be your grave. Leave the D**n Ponds Alone but pink Algae. You kill thousands of Fish now you come back and dump this BS in the Water. We going catch you. One way or the other We going catch you. Dont call on Jesus for help either.

    Like 3
    Dislike 4
  9. Me again says:

    Can Conservation pump water from the sea in the pond to help elevate the water level giving the creatures there a better chance of survival . FIRE and RESCUE should be able to help in this situation . YES i THINK PEOPLE ARE ALSO POLLUTING PONDS ALSO OUT OF igorance AS THEY do not UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WHOLE eco system

  10. oh oh says:

    we’re back in the days of King pharoah….”Let My People Go”….Y’all better heed the warning now before things get worse. dont forget to leave the offering…. a generous donation…..well me buoy.

  11. The Visitor says:

    “Natural phenomina” if you ignore the chicken processor at Josias and a mountain side of leaking septic tanks at CGB. Poop flows down hill.

  12. Billfargo says:

    The BVI Government is the one who closed off the Pond Mouth and cut off the oxygen which is causing the pond to die slowly. For the looks of a few dollars.then they are going to spend over $100,000. dollars to do some stupid people, when all they need to do is (Open up the Pond Mouth and the ocean would breath life back into the pond…

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