Swansea’s glorious beaches are cleaner and safer than ever before thanks to EU water quality standards. Yesterday (Sat 18 May), local campaigners, with the support of surfers, created a giant sand artwork on Swansea beach to mark the EU’s contribution to cleaner beaches in the area.
The event launched a campaign celebrating what Europe has done for Swansea.
Less than thirty years ago, many British beaches were dirty and unsafe, with very poor water quality. Raw sewage could often be found in the sea very close to land or even on the beach itself.
Thanks to a series of EU measures on bathing water quality and waste treatment, our beaches are now much cleaner and safer.
· Wales now has more blue flag beaches per mile than any other part of the UK, recent figures revealed
· By 2017 99% of UK beaches met the EU standards for bathing water quality
To mark this major benefit of EU membership to Swansea, volunteers from Swansea for Europe, along with colleagues from some of the 16 other pro-Europe groups across Wales, created a giant sand picture on Swansea beach.
Nils Dindorp, 50, from Southgate regularly surfs but recognises that the water is very different to how it was in the 1970s and 80s:
“People often got ill taking in seawater and you would find sewage floating around.
“Even out of the water, there would be tar and oil on the beaches. Surfers Against Sewage campaigned for real change and I’m glad that tougher legislation meant our beaches had to be cleaned up.
“My kids use the water now and I’m glad that they won’t face what we did.”
Fellow surfer Callum Thomas, 21, from Loughor, said:
“Clean water is so important for everyone, not just surfers.
“I’ve taken part in a competition where the water didn’t match what we have here on Gower and ended up ill, and so did other competitors.
“If the sea isn’t clean, you can end up being sick for weeks so this is about more than being able to see your feet when you are swimming.”
“I’m lucky to have grown up at a time when our beaches were cleaned up and where everyone can enjoy safe bathing water.”
Paul Willner, chair of Swansea for Europe, said:
“The beaches of Swansea have never been cleaner and safer – and we have Europe to thank for it. It was European law that made Westminster clean up its act.
Beaches that were polluted with raw sewage twenty years ago now have blue flags.
It’s a perfect example of how being in the EU brings real benefits to Swansea and its people.”