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  • ESG on high Sewage Contamination at Western Beach 250816

    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)