Summer Holidays Turned Sour When Tourists Saw Green Sludge On The Beach
It’s summer time – the perfect time to visit France and bask in the glory of picture-perfect beaches along the northwest coastline. People who’ve visited France will tell you that the best time to visit the beautiful country with charming beaches is during summer, and we couldn’t agree more. However, those who traveled to France in the summer of 2019 have a different story to tell – a story that revolves around huge amounts of stinky green sludge. Most of us may have seen some kind of green substance covering water bodies, and while it looks harmless, we now have reasons to stay away from it as it can be incredibly dangerous.
Welcome to Brittany, a hilly peninsula located in the west of France, that’s famous for its picturesque beaches and elegant resorts; a perfect getaway from your busy lives. Tourists were expecting to be greeted by the cool waters, the blush-hued sand and rocks, the tantalizing aroma of different foods, and the cool breeze, but what they saw instead made their stomachs churn in disgust. In the summer of 2019, the beautiful beaches stank of rot as giant amounts of harmful green sludge washed ashore, leaving everyone breathless – literally.
This isn’t the first time the stinky substance has caused problems in France; that happened about 50 years ago. When it first appeared in the 70s’, many horses and wild boars died when they came into contact with the green goop, but, unfortunately, their deaths were not linked to the appearance of the toxic sludge. In 1989, an unidentified man decided to go for a run on a sludge-hit beach in Saint-Michel-en-Grève, and never returned home. His body was discovered surrounded by the toxic algae, but reports described the green goop as seaweed. Then in 2009, there were two more deaths; of which one was a vet walking his horse on a sludge-filled beach in Brittany.
As soon as the vet and his horse came across a huge mass of the toxic algae, the vet passed out, but his horse sadly passed away. The vet survived only because someone, who spotted the duo, was able to pull him away from the dangerous site, however, for Thierry Morfoisse, things took a fatal turn. Morfoisse, a worker by profession, was tasked with moving the green sludge off the beach. The sludge was placed on a truck that Morfoisse was operating, but within moments he passed away while driving the dangerous substance away from the public. The cause of his death was stated as a “workplace accident”.
In 2016, a 50-year-old man called Jean-René Auffray, who was readying himself for a testing race, decided to run on a beach in Brittany with his dog Hillion. Hours later, when the dog returned home without Auffray, his family began looking for him and found his body surrounded by the green toxic algae goop. Two more people died in July 2019, of which one was a retired man and another was an 18-year-old oyster farmer, both died from a heart attack in Brittany’s Douarnenez Bay and Morlaix Bay. After their deaths, and seeing that the dangerous toxic algae showed no signs of dispersing, authorities decided to shut down six beaches in Brittany.
According to experts, while most green algae that wash ashore are harmless and critical to our existence, the algae in Brittany bloomed from a chemical compound called nitrates – a chemical released in water by waste from local farming. Algae that blooms from the waste produced by local farming can diffuse lethal amounts of hydrogen sulfide when they’re disturbed. The amount of gas released by the disturbed green sludge can kill humans and animals within seconds, and so the next time you see green goop on the beach, stay as far away as possible and warn others to save their lives.
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