Surfers Against Sewage have yet again stood up for surfers across the country in a call for better conditions and closer monitoring of the quality of bathing waters throughout the year. At present, water quality is only monitored and published in what is recognised as bathing season, meaning that tests are only carried out between May 15th and September 30th.
The Endless Campaign
Surfers have for a long time campaigned for a longer bathing season to better protect surfers who regularly surf outside of these months. In fact, in many parts of the country it is recognised that months outside of this period often produce the best surfing conditions of the year, but without water quality checks, there is little control over things like raw sewage and storm water discharges combined with sewer overflows, which are generally prohibited during bathing season in order to maintain water quality levels.
Public Backing Needed
Surfers Against Sewage are strongly encouraging backing from the general public on this matter, and are looking for people to directly back their appeal for a longer bathing season to be recognised. Thanks in no small part to the pressure applied by Surfers Against Sewage, The Department for the environment, Food and Rural Affairs has started an online consultation regarding the length of the bathing season, along with associated problems with regard to water quality, protecting the environment and of course human health.
How Will The Public Benefit from a Longer Bathing Season?
Naturally, closer monitoring of the quality of our coastal waters can’t do us much harm, but it’s important to highlight the good this can bring. Firstly, more information being fed to the general public about the quality of the water they are surfing in is going to lead people to be able to make an educated decision about when and where they decide to surf. Would you really be happy hitting a break that is just plain dirty?
At present, SAS’s Sewage Alert Service informs people using the seas about CSO discharges that are taking place across 260 beaches during the bathing season. Some companies have the power to withhold this information during out of bathing seasons, and there is an obvious benefit to prolonging the period in which companies cannot do this. Naturally, closer monitoring is going to encourage authorities to discharge less, to help to maintain cleaner waters, which will of course have a positive effect on the levels of sewage in our waters, which has to be good news for everyone, as well as the rich and varied marine life that exists in our seas.
What Can the Public Do?
Quite simply, get involved in the consultation that is taking place online. Doing so means you have a voice, an opinion which will be heard, and you can hopefully add to the huge number of people who are happy to back the notion that longer bathing seasons are crucial in our quest to clean up our seas. Get involved today and safeguard our waters for generations to come by backing the stellar work already carried out by Surfers Against Sewage.
Creative Commons photo by Astrid Westvang