Tag Archives: swimming

Clean Seas + Great Beaches = Wonderful Open Water Swimming

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) of the UK has launched its user-friendly clean beaches guide. The online guide includes an interactive map with photos and information on hundreds of beaches with the latest water quality data for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The water quality data is visually presented in an easy-to-understand, easy-to-navigate online guide.

The MCS guide includes all the test data – obtained once per week from May to September by the relevant government agencies – and 300 other beaches that are not tested for water quality.

MCS recommends beaches that have passed 100% of the European Mandatory water quality ity tests with at least 80% of the tests passing the European Guideline total and fecal coliform standard and a minimum of 90% of the tests passing the European Guideline fecal streptococci standard. To attain the highest grade, the beaches must also not have poorly treated continuous waste water discharge. The runoff from rain (official ‘wet weather waivers’) are ignored.

MCS also provides information on beaches with bad water quality where swimming is not advised because the water failed the European legal minimum water quality standard and less than 95% of the samples passed the European Mandatory standard. The water at these beaches suffer gross contamination by sewage on at least two occasions in the previous swim season. MCS advises against swimming and other immersion water sports.

Photo shows Port Eynon in Swansea on the Gower peninsula in Britain. The MCS guide describes this as a perfect family beach and an area of outstanding natural beauty with lifeguards, easy access to parking and shopping with a wide expanse of golden sand and rock pools to explore at low tide.
Posted by Steven Munatones – read the original article here

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‘Half UK Beaches Too Dirty For Swimmers’

Fewer than half Britain’s beaches are fit for swimmers, according to a new report.

Brighton beach

Only 370 UK beaches are “MCS recommended” this year out of 777 tested

The number of UK bathing spots recommended for having excellent water quality in the latest Good Beach Guide has dropped by almost a sixth this year.

The fall is the biggest year-on-year drop in the 22-year history of the guide produced by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

A total of 370 UK beaches are “MCS recommended” this year out of 777 tested – the first time since 2002 that fewer than half made the grade.

Those that failed even the mandatory EC standards for water quality increased by almost half to 78, up from 53 the previous year.

MCS conservation manager, Calum Duncan, said: “A beach may look safe, with clean sand, but it is the water quality that is the danger.

“Polluted water is not always obvious to the eye, so to be safe it is best to check our list of 370 recommended beaches.”

We’re becoming concerned that the existing infrastructure for handling storm pollution may not be up to the job.

Thomas Bell, MCS coastal pollution officer

The society put the fall in water quality standards down to the heavy rain last summer which increased pollution in the rivers and the seas.

The latest bathing water tests were carried out between May and September 2008, coinciding with the seventh wettest British summer on record.

Thomas Bell, MCS coastal pollution officer, said: “Today’s results reflect last summer’s heavy rain which swept waterborne pollutants like raw sewage, petro-chemicals and farm waste into rivers and the sea.

“We are concerned that the existing infrastructure for handling storm pollution is not up to the job.”

180 tractor tows a truck floods in UK

Bad weather in 2008

Specific counter-pollution measures, including investment in more sustainable urban drainage systems, new farming practices and expansion of the sewer system to handle storm water, are now thought to be needed in the face of changing weather patterns brought on by climate change.

Mr Duncan pointed to overflow storage as a particular problem: “The overflow tanks that we currently have in place are not large enough and when we have heavy rain they get filled too quickly.

“This means that the storm drains begin to spew pollution into the sea faster than need be and our overflow capacity needs to be increased.”

Mr Bell added that in order to avoid health risks, people should pick places to swim in the sea which had a good water quality record, stay out of the water for at least 24 hours after heavy storms and report pollution problems to the MCS.

Read the original article from SKY News here

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