A toxic algae bloom along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has shut down all of the state’s 21 beaches on one of the most popular summer holidays of the year.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced the final two beach closings Sunday morning due to the extensive “blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom,” according to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
The toxic bloom is blamed on the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway in Louisiana, which released an excessive amount of fresh water along the coastline.
The spillway was partially opened to relieve pressure on the rising Mississippi River, which has been running high after a wet winter in the Mississippi Valley.
The toxic bloom creates a foam or scum on the water surface and can make people sick if they swim in it or eat fish taken from it.
The blooms have become more common as the climate crisis intensifies and are found most often in warm fresh, salt or brackish water containing a lot of nutrients, such as from farm run-off.