Bathing Water Pollution
Rivers and coastal waters have been used for centuries as waste disposal for untreated sewage.
Untreated sewage could pose a threat to the environment and health of people bathing in the waters.
It releases large numbers of pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria and viruses into the water - if these are accidentally swallowed or brought into contact with the body they can cause gastroenteritis and ear and respitory problems.
Bathing Water Regulations
There are regulations on bathing water quality for all running or still fresh water and sea water where bathing is allowed and practised.
The two main things assessed are total coliforms and faecal coliforms (coliforms = bacteria found in the guts of humans and animals)
20 tests are usually done a year at each bathing place. If 18 out of the 20 are below the guideline then compliance would be 18/20x100 = 90%
Beaches and Blue Flags
Coastal destinations may be awarded a Blue Flag annually if they achieve high standards of water quality.
This award acts a a guarentee to tourists that the beach they're visiting is one of the best in the world.
It acts as an incentive for beach managers to improve water quality.