Staycationers are being urged to become #WaterWarriors and make the right choices when visiting beaches, rivers and lakes this summer in a new Environment Agency campaign launched today.
Record numbers are expected to holiday at home due to ongoing coronavirus uncertainties, with an estimated 30 million people expected to visit British beaches, and still more visiting rivers and lakes across the country.
Many will flock to popular English beaches and lakes designated as bathing waters to swim and enjoy the country’s blue spaces.
Visitors are being encouraged to ‘know before you go’ by checking the Environment Agency’s Swimfo website, which provides instant, easy access to information on over 400 bathing waters in England, including the latest water quality classification – and, for some bathing waters, when warnings are issued due to the temporary effects on water quality after a rainy day or high tides. Having this information at the fingertips ensures people have the most up-to-date information before they take the plunge.
Joint advice with Public Health England is also available on open water swimming – that’s swimming anywhere that isn’t a public pool – at Swim healthy.
Staycationers are also being encouraged to consider how their actions, whether at home or on holiday, can affect water quality and to remember a few simple actions they can take to protect blue spaces for everyone:
- only flush the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper
- never pour fats and oils down the sink
- never flush wet wipes and sanitary products down the loo
- always take your rubbish away from the beach
- always bag and bin your dog’s poo
- never pour waste liquids or throw litter down surface water drains
Simon Moody, Area Director at the Environment Agency, said:
“From the splendour of the chalk cliffs of Sussex to the sandy expanses of Isle of Wight beaches, Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight will see more people than ever taking a staycation and enjoying time in and around our glorious beaches, rivers or lakes this summer, it’s vital to know how we can all protect them.
“That’s why this summer we’re calling on people to check the Swimfo site for bathing water quality and follow #WaterWarriors on our social media channels.
“The quality of bathing water across the South is very high, but it is always a good idea to check the water quality before you visit and whether any pollution warnings are in force. With the potential for some beaches being very crowded this summer, it’s also an opportunity to search out some of the quieter spots. We want people to use the water safely, be aware of the risks and seek the right advice before taking the plunge.
“There is a lot going on to protect and enhance the environment, but as well as regulation and large scale investment, individual actions in your home, or at your holiday accommodation, really do make a difference. Wet wipes, kitchen towels, sanitary products, fats, oil and grease don’t belong down the drain, but are still found in huge quantities, leading to blockages and poor water quality. Enjoy your local environment this summer and do all you can to leave it for others to enjoy too.”
Follow a water sample from a beach to the lab to discover how teams check bathing water quality to keep you safe at the seaside: http://https://youtu.be/mY3dxWEPErw
Swimfo allows you to look up details of a designated bathing water by name or location. For more details please click here.