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    ESG on Western Beach Sewage Contamination

    25th August 2016


    As pollution levels continue to spike at Western Beach during July and August, the ESG urges beachgoers to avoid bathing in that beach. Indeed the red flag has been up for a while now and for good reason.


    It is clear that closure of this popular beach will be highly regrettable but the data on Government’s own monitoring site is there for all to see and highlights levels of E Coli and Intestinal enterococci, that have been peaking in July and especially August this year that should result in closure of the beach for the sake of public health.


    The “norms” or permissible levels for these microorganisms run at

    < 500 parts per 100ml for E Coli, and

    <185 parts per 100ml for Intestinal Enterococci


    In July, data shows that these levels were breeched on numerous occasions, and even on continuous days, with exceptional readings of 18,300 obtained for E Coli on the 20th July. That was not just slightly polluted; it was over 36 times the acceptable water quality.


    We move on to August and note that after a brief clear period of two weeks Western Beach is once again showing exceptional high levels of sewage contamination. Examples are 72600 parts per 100ml for E Coli, which is 145 times the legally permitted level. This was recorded on the 17th August but has since seen constant pollution with off the scale readings of Intestinal enterococci at 10,875 on the 18th Aug, and further daily and exceptional spikes of 20,300 and 21,750 parts per 100ml on the 19th Aug. These readings mean values of 58, 109 and 117 times the acceptable water quality. There is no new data posted since then and flag remains red.


    This abject deterioration in the bathing water quality at Western Beach during this summer is an aberration in a situation, which is now commonly known to occur year round but is better controlled by La Linea during the bathing season. Of course it’s understood that the persisting mountains of seaweed afflicting this beach are also causing their own considerable problems. But this cannot mar the underlying problem of sewage contamination, which is worsening and should direct the authorities to take the necessary action. Indeed advantage could be taken over the better relations with cross border authorities to find and implement a solution once and for all.


    To the ESG it is clear that unless the source of the current contamination can be identified and stopped, the high levels of sewage pollution confirmed at this beach should result in its closure for the protection of public health.

    The ESG will continue to press the EU, our MEPs and Government to battle for our beach, which is an important community amenity, special marine environment and used by many families over the past decades.

    ESG urges the public to visit the Environmental Agency Website; click on monitoring and check water data on all beaches – (http://environmental-agency.gi/environmental_monitoring.htm)

    ESG Radio Newsletter 25th August 2016

    ESG Radio Broadcast 25th August 2016


    With Clean up the World 2016 a month away today preparations of equipment and other important materials are now underway. We are now consolidating teams and sites and urge anyone interested to please get in touch soon. Preferably by email to: esg@gibtelecom.net. We shall be holding an awareness event in town on the 20th just before the Clean up where we hope to share information and raise the profile of Clean up issues. This will be our twelfth campaign in Gibraltar as part of a global movement that inspires grassroots action to help local environments everywhere. With the core theme being: Our Place, Our Planet, Our Responsibility, we believe this campaign is as relevant today as when we first started, and call upon the community to lend its support as it has done in past years. The clean up itself will be held on the 24th September and volunteers and team leaders will be expected to attend the main planning meeting in early September.


    The issue of LNG has been in the news again. Those who follow our work will know we have been closely monitoring this project and have given our views publicly at each and every stage. We have held recent meetings with GibElec regarding on-going works at the new Power Station site, interested in ensuring that the measures we called for last year, for Best Available Technology to be applied, will be seen through. These relate to electrostatic precipitators, stack monitoring, and adequate assessment of diesel use to encompass a wider time period than envisaged in the present studies. Basically to limit pollution affecting residential areas closest to the plant. Separately we are also keen to see the COMAH assessment and contingency plans on the LNG storage and its operational use; this remains pending.


    The Chief Ministers interview this week regarding LNG bunkering and any possible use of the North Mole terminal in this regard has not featured in any discussion/assessment or exhibition held to date that we have been a part of. Indeed we have had assurances that the east side would be the area to be used for LNG bunkering, and even then, after careful assessments. We are taking this up once again with Government.


    In the past few weeks Western Beach has been in the news and much-debated on social media. The key focus has been on the extraordinary and mountainous volumes of seaweed amassing on the shores of this beach. It has failed to make the news, however, on the levels of sewage contamination, which has rightfully caused red flags to fly on a number of occasions, and continues to this day.


    While past summers have seen a reprieve during the bathing season from dumping of very high volumes of sewage at Western Beach waters from La Lineas’ infamous storm drain, which occurs all year round, and since 2010, this time we are in the middle of a bathing season, and we are clocking up exceptionally high levels of E Coli and intestinal enterococci microorganisms, both from faecal matter, which pose a grave threat to public health.


    We would like to draw attention to this current polluting activity which can be seen on the Environmental Agency’s website and should, in our view, result in beach closure if this is not eliminated.

    Finally, the DPC meets next week on the 31st August at 9.30am at the John Mackintosh Hall. The agenda is up on the egov.gi site and contains a number of interesting applications that will be discussed. Remember these meetings are held publicly at the Charles Hunt Room.

    Thanks for listening!

    ESG Radio Newsletter 11th August 2016

    ESG Radio Newsletter 11th August 2016

    Rubbish – Clean up – Eco Park – Balloon Release – Air and Noise Pollution – Bathing Water Quality


    Summer tends to be a busy time with many of us out and about cooling off, enjoying the great outdoors. There’s no denying Gibraltar also fills up considerably with many thousands of tourists keen to lap up our attractions. We wish that we could all, collectively, be more mindful and more responsible about our rubbish. Whether in the sea, beaches, parks, playgrounds, or on main roads, plastic bags and other food waste is seen almost everywhere, usually lurking around one corner or other.


    Lets Use the bins provided and remind friends, family and even people you see chucking stuff not to litter! It’s not cool, its an eyesore, and in our particular environment positively dangerous to birds and marine life. In the knowledge that many plastics break down in the marine environment and enter the food chain this also threatens human health, it’s a no-brainer really – its in everyone’s interest to deal with rubbish responsibly.


    The 2016 Clean Up, is a visual part of a year round campaign we work on with agencies and the community to improve on Gibraltar’s littering issues. We believe it is of value as it helps raise awareness, helps clean up important habitats, and reinforces to the rest of the world that Gibraltar supports the inspiring global movement to help clean up the environment. The date then is the 24th of September. Team leaders will be emailed this week.


    We shall have a number of activities including a main street awareness event in the run up to the day itself. More news in the press soon.

    Our local campaign has achieved many positives for our local environment but there is still more to be done.


    A reminder that the Eco Park based at Flint Road (off Devil’s Tower Road) accepts any recyclable waste and is open 7 days a week.


    We welcome the recent announcement by the SDGG that a replacement for the mass balloon release has been identified. We are assured it will have no negative environmental impact which we obviously welcome.


    With higher temperatures any air and noise pollution creates an ever-greater impact on those nearby. As we receive complaints from affected residents we continue to highlight and press for best available technology to be used as our proximity to any industrial activity means EU stds alone are not adequate.


    The ESG would like to remind the public that bathing water quality can be checked on the Environmental Agency’s website under monitoring to verify the status of the water quality in general at any particular beach –we say in general because the data is always a few days behind and can only give an indication.


    You can email us at esg@gibtelecom.net for more information and visit our website esg-gib.net for all our press releases.     Thanks for listening.

    CUTW 2016 Info Date is 24th September 2016

    Poster for the Clean up will be posted on the website next week- apologies – meanwhile please email us at esg@gibtelecom.net for one to be emailed to you.


    Date for the Clean Up this year is the 24th September. The official date is the 17th/18th which is too hot and doesn’t work well for schools just coming out of half days either.


    We intend to clear up a few hotspots, tackle some challenging sites and raise awareness of litter and waste issues on the Rock.


    Details will be posted here on how you can help and support this worthy community campaign working to clean up our local environment.