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Monday, 19 November 2012

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It was a shower of algae

The Health Ministry yesterday said it identified an algae species in the red showers experienced in Sevanagala, Manampitiya, Hingurakgoda and Padiyathalawa during the last few days as Trachelomonas bacteria.

A Health Ministry spokesman said it is a strain of algae which has not yet been discovered in Sri Lanka.

The Trachelomonas bacteria is a single celled micro organism which is harmless and is able to change its colour from green to red depending on the environment. The algae spreads very fast, he said.

The spokesman said the Medical Research Institute (MRI) will carry out a DNA test to determine the propagation speed of this bacteria under the direction of MRI Director Dr Anil Samaranayake. Meanwhile, MRI has taken measures to test water samples of wells and tanks in the ‘Red shower areas’ while the public have been asked to boil water before drinking.

Minister condoles with gas leak victims’ families Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday condoled with the families of the two employees who died following a gas leak at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery. The minister directed CPC officials to attend to the funeral arrangements and also take care of the medical expenses and other needs of the seven injured workers, the Petroleum Industries Ministry Media Unit said in a release. The minister also told the management to conduct an immediate investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, the manager of the Refinery Neil Jayasekera said the gas leak occurred on Friday when maintenance work was underway at the refinery.

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