Made up of potentially toxic bacteria, blue-green algae presents a significant health risk to both people and animals if consumed.
Alliance Agriculture and Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA has said: “This is an extremely serious issue, and the amount of cases we’re seeing of blue-green algae reported all over Northern Ireland is very worrying, both for locals and visitors alike.
“We’re fortunate enough to have so many natural beauty spots in NI where people are able to enjoy a whole range of water-based activities, and issues with water quality will inevitably put public confidence in these resources at risk.
“We need clarity on what measures are being taken. I have questioned DAERA on where exactly investigations into algae formations and declining water quality are taking place, if pollution could have played a role and if so, to what extent, and on how the Department’s findings will be published.”
Alliance Causeway Councillor Peter McCully, who alongside his colleague Cllr Richard Stewart has been observing the impact of blue-green algae on the North Coast, has said: “The closure of beaches because of blue-green algae and decreasing water quality has caused massive disruption both on the North Coast and across NI.
“This is especially evident during the height of tourist season, when seaside businesses stand to lose significant amounts of revenue as a result of closures, as well as the potential reputational damage for the area going forward in the future.
“People should be able to have confidence and pride in the quality of our beaches and natural bathing spots. I’d urge DAERA to look into this as a matter of urgency, and I await their response to our questions.”