In Brief

Toxic foam covers one of India’s most famous beaches

Children have been playing in ‘acrid’ white suds despite medical warnings

A toxic white foam has covered one of India’s most famous beaches, creating a new hazard in a country rife with pollution.

Children have been playing and taking selfies in the clouds of white suds, while fishermen have been told not to go into the sea, according to the South China Morning Post.

The warnings have also not stopped tourists from playing on the beach, AFP reports.

The foam, which the BBC reports is “caused by pollutants in sewage mixing with sea water and frothed up by waves”, is knee deep and has engulfed Marina Beach in Chennai, the largest urban beach in India.

The foam is reported to give off an “acrid smell”, with doctors warning that “skin problems could be caused by the foam”.

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

Mishra told AFP that only 40% of Chennai’s waste water is treated, while the rest of the sewage from the city – which is home to more than 7 million people – washes directly into the sea.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The South China Morning Post reports that experts say heavy rain in recent days has carried untreated sewage and phosphate to the sea. The newspaper adds that authorities are also on alert for a repeat of a 2017 incident when thousands of fish were killed by pollution that hit beaches around the same time of year.

Local fishermen have complained that the value of fish has plummeted, with locals concerned that fish are contaminated by the foam after the events of 2017.

Air pollution has been a long-standing issue in India, with the Supreme Court recently threatening that states with particularly bad pollution levels may be forced to pay citizens compensation.

Recommended

Does nuclear energy have an image problem?
Boris Johnson visits Hinkley Point C
Podcasts

Does nuclear energy have an image problem?

DNA theft, an energy puzzle and news refuseniks
Podcasts

DNA theft, an energy puzzle and news refuseniks

Animal-human conflict on the rise in India
Sign warning about elephants crossing
Unreported world

Animal-human conflict on the rise in India

How Britain’s food system is set to change
Boris Johnson talks to a farm manager in Hayle, Cornwall
Getting to grips with . . .

How Britain’s food system is set to change

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

When is the next UK general election?
A sign directs voters to a polling station
In Depth

When is the next UK general election?

The Mediterranean cities preparing for a tsunami
A tsunami in 2011 in Japan
Fact file

The Mediterranean cities preparing for a tsunami

The Week Footer Banner