For the last month, phytoplankton in the lake of Kastoria in northern Greece has formed a thick, white ooze on the water’s surface. The foam, which has caused the lake and surrounding environs to smell, has disturbed locals and attracted the attention of international scientists.
According to Athens Macedonian News Agency, 70 scientists from 25 countries are currently participating in an international conference on phytoplankton in Kastoria. They are examining the strange phenomenon hands-on.
Maria Moustaka, professor of biology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), noted that the occurence is in fact a “political” issue. The situation of the lake, which has been closely monitored by scientists for nearly 20 years, has gone entirely ignored by the Greek state. Scientific data and proposed solutions to the sludge have fallen on deaf bureaucratic ears.
Led by Moustaka, the Kastoria scientists took water samples from the lake and found that phosphorus from urban waste was contributing to eutrophication and, consequently, the increase of phytoplankton and toxic cyanobacteria that form the green and white paste on the lake’s surface.
Moustaka stressed the need for an immediate cleansing of the lake. The mayor of Kastoria, Anestis Angelis, agreed that clearing the plankton is an issue of primary importance for the new municipal authority. The lake is linked with the city’s life and economy.
Restaurants, cafes and bars surrounding the lake are suffering setbacks related to the sludge. Fewer customers now approach the lake due to its strong odor.