A strong stench of sewage hit passersby at a section of the George Town harbour front Monday morning.
But what looked and smelled like sewage, turned out to be rotting algae that had washed inland, said a local environmental official.
Staff from the Cayman Islands Department of Environment checked out the black sludge that was washing up against the harbour wall and nearby rocks at the harbour front on the western side of the capital in Grand Cayman, opposite Strathvale House.
“It’s a particular kind of algae that’s collected in the bay and it’s rotting,” said Tim Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment.
The fresh algae looks dark green but as it rots, it turns black and produces a stench similar to sewage, due to the hydrogen sulfide released during the bacterial breakdown of the material, Mr. Austin said.
While he said there was nothing harmful in the rotting algae in terms of pollutants, Mr. Austin admitted he would not swim in it himself.
The algae was beginning to wash back out to sea in a slick later Monday morning, but some of it remained closer to shore as the waves continued to bring it back toward land.
“There is really nothing we can do with it, we’ve just got to let nature take its course,” Mr. Austin said.
What looked and smelled like sewage, turned out to be rotting algae that had washed inland, said a local environmental official.