Kierra Box, Maureen Wood and Margaret Cliff on protecting a precious resource
This weekend Brits will flock to our beaches. Thanks to EU pressure, visitors to more than 95% of our bathing beaches can paddle safe in the knowledge that nothing nasty lurks beneath the waves – a massive improvement since 1987, when it was judged safe to enter the water at just 55% of our favourite swimming spots. However, the European Environment Agency is right to raise a red flag (UK bathing water ranks next from last in EU beach table, 23 May). The UK continued to pump gallons of untreated effluent into some of our most beautiful seaside areas every year right up until 1998. Even today, only 65% of our beaches are rated as excellent by the Environment Agency, compared with 91% in Italy and 89% in Spain. And these are at risk if EU standards which guarantee clean bathing water are weakened or abandoned after Brexit.
No one wants to see Britain return to being seen as the dirty man of Europe. Let’s ensure this election doesn’t mark the end of our summer holidays by the sea and ask that all political parties commit to retaining EU bathing standards and ensure our future is safe from sewage.
Land, food and water campaigner, Friends of the Earth
Source: Guardian Climate Change