BRITS heading to the coast for their holiday should avoid swimming at a number of beaches across the country due to many of them being polluted by sewage.
Following the heavy rainfall, sewage is likely to have leaked into the ocean, lowering the water quality.
Two months worth of rain has battered parts of the UK this week, leaving flooded roads and railway lines.
This has also led to full combined sewer overflows (CSOs), according to Southern Water, which is when large amounts of rain get into the sewers.
If there is too much in a short amount of time, then the facilities containing the sewage have to release some of the pollution into the ocean through pipes, to prevent it from coming up into streets and homes across the country.
However, this then means that the sea around the country could be unsafe to swim in.
Surfers Against Sewage reveal the beaches which are not advised to swim in, finding approximately 55 beaches affected by the sewage.
On some of the beaches, they explain: “Pollution Alert: Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours and bathing not advised today due to the likelihood of reduced water quality.”
They also explain how each beach is affected, such as how many sewer overflows lead into that part of the beach and how far away they are.
Surfers Against Sewage tweeted: “SEWAGE is flowing onto beaches right now, due to heavy rain – posing health risks.
“185 sewer overflow & 268 pollution risk warnings have been issued in the last 4 days!”
One woman replied: “Wish I had this app last week. Took my dogs to Mawgan Porth on the 7th and they got diarrhoea!!
“The app says there was an alert for sewage on that day!”
Regions with the most beaches affected include Cornwall, with 18 beach warnings, Brighton, Blackpool and Exeter.
Last year, a number of British beaches were accused of being ‘filthy’ with pollution, despite a dry summer which helps sewage facilities.
Compared to six beaches rated ‘poor’ in 2016, this number has risen to nine in 2018.
Brits wanting to swim should check if it is a Blue Flag beach beforehand which suggests a cleaner and safer beach.
The beaches are also only advised to be avoided for 48 hours following the pollution.
What are the health risks of swimming in polluted water?
According to the NHS, the dangers of swimming in sewage-contaminated waters include getting diarrhoea and stomach bugs.
Surfers Against Sewage told Sun Online Travel: “During periods of reduced water quality, the risk of contracting bacterial, viral and other diseases associated with contact with faecal matter is significantly increased.
“Entering the water during periods of poor water quality could put you at risk of conditions including eye, ear, skin and throat infections, gastroenteritis, E. coli and hepatitis.”
To reduce the risk, the NHS advise:
- Don’t drink from streams, even if they look clear. Cows or sheep may have urinated in them.
- Wash your hands after paddling in a river or stream, and avoid swallowing water while swimming.
- Generally, if the water looks clean and clear, it’s a good indication that it’s safe to swim in.
It isn’t just the UK affected – a number of popular tourist beaches in Spain were also found to be heavily polluted by sewage, earlier this year.
Three pipes in Nerja were filmed spewing raw waste and sewage into the waters of the beach.
Boracay Island in the Philippines was also closed last year due to sewage being put into the water.