- 13 November 2008 | Environment
Almost a 1/3rd (32.3%) of designated beaches in England and Wales have failed to meet the UK’s guideline standard for water quality during the 2008 bathing season.
There are 495 designated bathing waters in England and Wales and of these 160 could not meet the tougher of 2 water quality standards set by the European Union (EU) to protect public health and the environment from faecal pollution at bathing waters.
While leading clean water campaigners, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) feel all designated beaches should meet the ‘guideline’ standard, given it has been set as a target for 32 years under the 1976 EU Bathing Water Directive, changes in weather conditions are now making this task increasingly difficult.
Despite a massive investment in the sewerage infrastructure right across the UK, the last 2 years of wet summer weather has highlighted just how vulnerable the nation’s beaches are to dips in water quality after heavy rainfall. SAS predict worse is to follow if our summers continue to be broken by intense rainfall events as expected in the coming years.
However, SAS are quick to point out that a solution which reduces the impact of heavy rainfall on future water quality results, should not just fall on the shoulders of the nation’s water companies, but will require a well defined and integrated strategy from a number of authorities. While pollution from sewage treatment works continue to be a problem during wet weather, run-off from agriculture and urban areas are also having an impact on the bathing results, highlighting just how diverse the sources of pollution can be.
Water customers will also have a role to play and they must be aware that wasting water in the house adds to the burden of local sewage treatment works. When you combine this with normal wastewater flows and any storm water that might also be generated from a heavy rainfall event, then the majority of sewage treatment works won’t have the capacity to ‘treat’ this water. Instead, it will enter local rivers or the sea with higher bacterial loads. This can create poorer water quality and increase the public health risks for those using the water for recreation.
- 06 November 2008 | Environment
Will Barack Obama save Trestles?
The environmental group Wildcoast chimed in this morning on the indirect role the next president might play in preventing the highly controversial construction of a toll road through a portion of San Onofre State Beach.
"Surfers everywhere are thrilled that a man who grew up in the global surfing centers of Indonesia and Oahu is to be our next president," Serge Dedina, executive director of Wildcoast, said in a news release. "This victory will have a critical impact on efforts to stop the TCA from placing a private toll road through San Onofre State Beach Park and efforts to preserve the coast worldwide."
- 04 November 2008 | Environment
Surfrider Foundation chapters in Oregon are participating in the state’s marine reserve & marine protected area (MPA) process.
The planning effort is being guided by nearshore action teams, comprised of coastal residents, ocean users, and other interested parties.
On October 1st, the proposal period closed for recommending potential sites for designation in Oregon’s Territorial Sea.
Surfrider members participated in the development of five marine reserve proposals, including nominations off Florence, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, Port Orford, and Pistol River.
The proposed areas incorporate multiple habitat types (e.g., rocky reef, kelp canopy) and are intended to minimize impacts to ocean users.
All proposals received by the state are now subject to several phases of evaluation based on ecological and socioeconomic criteria.
Marine protected areas (MPAs), including fully protected marine reserves, are part of an ecosystem-based approach to management, and have been used around the world to help protect and restore ocean ecosystems.