Last night the BBC’s Panorama programme looked at the quality of our water at beaches. At the beginning of the programme in tabloid scarey style it pointed out that 43% of beaches provided a chance of us catching gastro-enteritis. This was followed by a reporter trying to sell ice-creams but telling customers that there was a chance they could catch something from it. Needless to say no-one bought it but it was a cheap stunt to continue the scare story.
Panorama contended that Combined Sewage Overflow Pipes (CSO’s) were the cause of the water impurities and that 45% of beaches have a CSO near them.
Southern Water put up a hesitant spokesperson to comment on claims about beach water purity. Welsh Water provided no-one and the Envonmental Agency spokesperson seemed the only person to point out that without operflows, sewage would surge back into our homes.
So are our beaches safe?
I don’t know. The progamme suggested there were areas of doubt and that the EU was taking the government to court on some fronts. But because of the nature of the programme, it didn’t come acrioss as unbiased. As I said it came over as tabloid scarey journalism and maybe that’s why those holding an opposing view didn’t want to be seen on camera. Comments were made but spoken by the reporter.
What seems to be needed is a combination of views so that we can try and assess the truth. But until then follow the guidelines I have known since childhood. Don’t go in water after heavy rainfall be it rivers or beaches.