Toxic foam engulfed India’s most popular beach

One of India’s most popular beaches, Marina Beach in Chennai has been engulfed in a knee-deep foam that experts warn is toxic.

The foam, which has become quite a common occurrence on the beach, appears every year when the monsoon rains wash ‘land pollution’ into the ocean. According to reports from AFP, the foam is likely to be the result of wind and waves mixing chemicals like washing detergent residue, untreated sewage, and phosphate into a thick toxic foam. Despite warnings from officials that the foam could cause serious skin irritation, hundreds of families and tourists have still flocked to the popular beach.

“It is definitely not good for people to go into the foam but they just do not understand the risks,” said Pravakar Mishra, a scientist at the National Centre for Coastal Research in Chennai said to reporters.

The foam is not only affecting the wellbeing of beach goers, it’s affecting the economy as well. One fisherman told AFP the value of his fish he caught has plummeted to virtually nothing. This is because locals believe the fish are contaminated by the foam on the beach. In 2016 and 2017, a pollution run-off caused a large number of fish to die near the coast of Chennai.

Currently, only 40% of sewage from Chennai and other big cities are properly treated, the other 60% of sewage flows into the sea, resulting in toxic phenomenons like the foam on Marina Beach. “Pollution is now a bigger threat to India’s beaches than the rising seas,” said Mishra.

Feature image: Twitter/@pallav_

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