Do your bit for the beach

As summer approaches, visitors to Yorkshire’s beautiful coastline are being encouraged to ‘Do their bit for the beach’, by taking some simple steps to help protect the environment and the quality of the region’s bathing waters.

Disposing of litter properly, keeping dogs off beaches and not feeding seagulls are all steps that people can take when visiting Yorkshire’s beaches to ensure that everyone is able to fully enjoy their trip to the coastline.

Water quality at 18 of Yorkshire’s 19 bathing beaches was rated as good or excellent in 2017. However, constant work is needed to protect water quality and move towards achieving the ‘excellent’ standard at all of Yorkshire’s beaches.

A Yorkshire Bathing Waters Partnership spokesperson said: “We’ve all seen recently that awareness has greatly increased of the impact that discarded plastics can have on the marine environment, and it is great to see so many people taking steps to reduce their use of single use plastics. But the quality of the water at Yorkshire’s bathing beaches is also impacted by a number of other factors.

“The Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership has done a significant amount of work in recent years to understand the impacts on bathing water quality and all our investigations have shown there are a wide range of things impacting water quality - from dogs and seagulls to industrial waste and sewage, as well as rainfall runoff.

“The Bathing Water Partnership is working hard to address some of the issues, including investing in new facilities for boats to discharge waste and working with industry to understand the impact of industrial effluent. However, protecting and improving water quality also needs people to do their bit when visiting the beach.”

The Bathing Water Partnership is encouraging people to:

  • Ensure they comply with dog bans and keep dogs off bathing beaches during the summer.

  • Avoid feeding seagulls as their droppings can negatively impact water quality.

  • Dispose of litter responsibly, recycling where possible.

  • Businesses and households are asked to support the #binit4beaches campaign by ensuring they don’t contribute to pollution on beaches by not pouring fats down drains and not flushing wet wipes as these can cause sewer blockages which can lead to pollution.

The spokesperson added: “Bathing water quality is also impacted by factors we can’t control, such as the weather. For example, during heavy rain, such as that seen last summer, rainwater that runs off through urban areas and agricultural land into the sea can result in a temporary dip in water quality. Whilst the impact of rainfall is only temporary, we can help minimise the impact of factors like this by ensuring that we take action on the things we can control.”

You can find out about water quality at each bathing water, what affects the water at each beach and what’s being done by organisations locally on the Environment Agency’s website.