Killer Slime Taking Over France Beaches

Back to Article
Back to Article

Killer Slime Taking Over France Beaches

Averi Carlson, Contributor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Over the past twenty years, many animals and people were found dead on several beaches in France. After research, it was found that the deadly algae had been growing on these beaches that were causing these deaths. Since this algae was discovered, six beaches have been closed to tourism. It has been given the title “Killer Slime” for its ability to kill a human within seconds. 

Studies on this seaweed show that it emits a high level of hydrogen sulfide gases that can cause a person to go unconscious and later cardiac arrest. Since it happens quickly, a person can be dead within minutes and no one would even know. 

For a while, no one thought twice about the algae on the beaches. Occasionally there would be dead pigs covered in seaweed seen. Since the population of pigs was greater than the population of people, it was normal. This algae was discovered when several people were found dead on the shore. Inès Léraud states, “‘Around 20 people die on the coast each year, often swept away by tides or currents, but the question is: could some of those people have fainted from toxic gas from seaweed before being swept out?’” 

One man who died from the algae was Jean-René Auffray. One day he was going out for a run with his dog along the beach. Several hours later the dog returned home without Auffray and the family sent out a search party to look for him. He was found dead on the beach in a place where thirty dead pigs have been seen. Another incident was when “Pierre Philippe, a 27-year-old vet was dragged unconscious from a patch of rotting algae a meter deep.” He was later found to have a high level of toxic gas in his lungs. If the algae is not stopped they will continue to spread throughout all the beaches. It started with one beach and within several years, it has spread to five others. It is predicted to continue to infect more beaches in the next several years.

Campaigns have been created to stop the progression of the algae. Andre Ollivro, a former gas technician, owns a beach house close to one of the first beaches infected. He has put a campaign in place to get rid of the algae and open up the beaches once more. He has been fighting against the algae for about twenty years without much progress. The L’EXPRESS names him the “watchtower of green tides and slayer of intensive agriculture” because of his desire to restore the beaches to their original state. Ollivro told The Guardian, “When I was 16, I used to bring a boat here with my uncle… It’s a shame this place has come to be associated with death.”

Several of the beach houses have closed, and many have been forced to move. Once the beaches are restored, they will become the usual tourist spot again. Yet many believe these beaches will never be the same. Some residents believe the pigs are responsible for the deaths. Many led protest for the protection of the algae and for getting rid of the pigs. This “killer slime” is spreading, and is taking away from the beauty that was once there. If the algae is not stopped it might spread to other beaches and destroy them too.