We are part of the Turning Tides partnership - organisations working together in the North West to improve the quality of bathing waters. LOVEmyBEACH is a project to help the public protect their beaches by keeping them clean.
Thousands of people enjoy Copeland's stunning coastline each year, and we can all do our bit to help keep the bathing waters clean.
What affects Water Quality at our Beaches?
We check the water quality at our beaches at key locations called ‘bathing waters’ – designated stretches of water where people swim and paddle. The Bathing Water Directive sets out standards of water quality based on how much bacteria is in the water when a water sample is taken. By measuring how much bacteria is in the water we can tell how clean it is. Bacteria can come from many places, including pollution in the sea, litter and dog poo on the beach, or from water washed into the sea from inland, particularly after heavy rain.
Tougher Standards and a Bigger Challenge
From 2015 new, tougher European standards called the revised Bathing Water Directive (rBWD) come into force – around twice as stringent as the previous standards. If we fail to meet the new minimum standards, signs could go up on our beaches advising people not to bathe. This may mean local people are put off from using their beaches and visitors choose to go elsewhere, affecting the tourism industry.
LOVEmyBEACH supporters don’t want this to happen. Bathing waters need to be clean enough for people to swim and paddle so we are working hard to make sure we meet the new tougher standards.
What can we do to help?
Always put disposable products such as wet wipes, cotton buds and sanitary items in the bin, not down the toilet. Only the 3 ps should go down the loo - Pee, Poo and Paper. Nothing else, even if it says ‘flushable’ on the packaging.
Don’t pour kitchen grease down the sink as it can block sewers, which then overflow into seas, rivers and lakes.
Check your drain is connected to the right drainage system. Wrongly connected plumbing could mean water from toilets, dishwashers and showers going directly into local waters. Visit www.connectright.org for more information.
Pick up your dog’s poo and bin it - you'll also avoid a fine.
Check your septic tank - faulty systems can cause serious pollution problems.
Use a water butt to collect rain water for your garden and help reduce the amount of water running into surface water drains or sewers.
Put litter in the bin, especially food waste as it encourages birds and their poo can affect water quality. Broken bottles and cans can be dangerous so take them with you off the beach, or better still, put them in a recycling bin.
Join a beach clean - community groups often hold them locally and LOVEmyBEACH can even help you set one up.
Speak to your employer about following some of these top tips in the workplace, such as fat traps for catering, or toilet stickers asking people to think before they flush.
Find out more at Lovemybeach.org.