Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

The Welsh beaches and rivers with the highest pollution rates have been named in the annual report of the charity Surfers Against Sewage.

In total in England and Wales, 16% of swimming days during the bathing season, which runs from 15 May to 30 September, and where people most often take a dip in the sea and / or rivers, were lost due to high water pollution which meant water and beaches were too unsafe to swim in.

Read more:The Beginner’s Guide to Autumn’s Wild Swimming in Wales

River water quality is significantly worse than seawater quality, where only 14% of rivers in England and Wales meet ‘Good Ecological Status’, and no one passes chemical standards that indicate serious problems with wastewater and pollution.

Many sites and beaches along the south, west and north coasts of Wales received notices of sewage overflow into the sea by 2021, including Langland Bay, Saundersfoot Beach and Newport North Beach.

The worst beach in Wales for sewage overflow and pollution is Benllech Beach Anglesey with 53 sewer discharges in 2021, and the River Dee is the worst river in Wales for wastewater pollution with 70 discharges.

The Dee River is the worst polluted river in Wales
River Dee is the worst polluted river in Wales

River Dee has also remained in the top 20 places for the number of submitted health reports linking disease with water quality, and these diseases include gastroenteritis and ear infections.

Other areas that reported more than 50 wastes of wastewater into the sea include approx Swansea and in Pembrokeshire.

Llanrhystud Beach in Cardigan Bay, into which the Afon Wyre River flows, has poor bathing results with very high E.coli levels, some levels so high that they pose an extreme risk to human health.

Dog Whitmore Bay Beach at Barry The island into which the Cadoxton River flows has excellent bathing water results with very low levels of E.coli in both the river and the sea.

But at other beach resorts on Barry Island, at least one result during the bathing season showed such high E.coli levels that they posed a health risk.

Welsh Water reported wastewater overflows in more places in 2021 compared to 2018 and 2019, but despite more locations, there were fewer reports of wastewater overflows in Wales in 2021 compared to the previous two years.

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