BY SIOBHAN CRONIN
SIX West Cork beaches have been given the ‘thumbs up’ under new stricter EU standards for bathing waters.
The strands which have achieved compliance with the new standards of ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ bathing water quality include Barleycove, Garretstown, Garrylucas White Strand, Inchydoney, Owenahincha Little Island Strand and Tragumna.
Throughout 2014, local authorities tested 136 EU-identified bathing waters, together with many other smaller, or less well-used, waters – with 94% of identified bathing areas meeting new stricter EU standards.
These are almost twice as strict as those previously applied.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises bathers in Co Cork that they can check current bathing water quality using the Splash website, splash.epa.ie.
The website has an interactive, colour-coded map that allows people to check out any of the 136 EU-identified bathing waters.
Before deciding on the best place to swim, viewers can find the latest reported water quality, and check if there is any bathing water warning or notification in place at their chosen location.
Bathers can also follow the EPA on Twitter @EPABathingWater and receive text updates on any bathing water incidents.
Commenting on the 2014 water quality results, Peter Webster, senior environmental scientist, said he would hope that all visitors to beaches in Co Cork can enjoy good quality bathing water and clean modern facilities, knowing that their health and the environment are being protected.
‘Splash can help families, holiday makers and bathers in Cork by providing current information on identified bathing waters and the latest water quality at their local beaches,’ he said.
‘We would also encourage Cork residents to download and use the ‘See it, Say It’ App. We all have a role in protecting the environment and this app will help those enjoying the summer sun to easily report environmental incidents whether at the beach or taking a stroll in the countryside.’
By taking a quick photo, and adding a few details, the app makes it easier to make an environmental complaint about issues such as dumping of litter and empowers people to take pride in their environment and to report these matters to local authorities,’ he said.
Visit Splash to check the water quality at your favourite bathing spot at splash.epa.ie