News & AnalysisEcology

China Aims to Turn Tide Against Toxic Lake Pollution

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Science  02 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6047, pp. 1210-1211
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6047.1210

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In May 2007, an outbreak of a nasty blue-green alga, Microcystis aeruginosa, sparked by unusually warm weather overwhelmed a water works that supplies Wuxi city on the northern shore of Taihu, China's third largest freshwater lake, leaving more than 2 million people without drinking water for a week. The crisis transformed Taihu into a poster child for the environmental consequences of the country's rapid economic growth. Four years later, efforts to heal Taihu are showing results. But restoring Taihu to a truly healthy state will be a challenge akin to ongoing efforts to bring polluted Lake Erie back from the near-dead.