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Dublin: 3°C Sunday 29 November 2020
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'It's bird, dog, horse, cow, and people poo': Swimmers warned to stay out of the water near Melbourne

There’s a bit of a nasty surprise waiting in the water.

shutterstock_2471407 File photo of a beach close to Melbourne. Source: Shutterstock/Nicole Paton

A NUMBER OF beaches close to the city of Melbourne in Australia have been declared unsafe for swimmers after a storm caused high levels of faecal contamination.

Victoria was hit by storms in recent days that caused flash flooding, widespread disruption for commuters, and swamped emergency services with thousands of calls.

Local health and safety officials have discover this had a bit of a nasty effect on several of the Melbourne’s popular beaches, and currently swimmers are being warned to stay out of the water at 21 beaches, with a cautionary warning in place for five more.

10 beaches remain open.

PastedImage-67367 Source: Screenshot of beach report via YarraAndBay.vic.gov.au

The Australian EPA’s manager of applied sciences Dr Anthony Boxshall explained the cause of the contamination to ABC News 24, asking beforehand if the presenter wanted “the nice way of putting it, or the facts?”:

It’s bird, it’s dog poo, it’s horse poo, it’s cow poo, it’s people poo, and that’s what washes with the streets and everything that comes out of the storm water system.

“We know that when we have that [heavy] rain, we end up with beaches like this.”

PastedImage-80448 Dr Anthony Boxshall speaking to ABC News Source: Screenshot via ABC News

Boxshall added that the gastrointestinal illnesses that can be caused by ingesting water containing large amounts of faecal matter might not pose much of a threat for healthy adults, but for anyone more prone to illness it can prove to be dangerous.

The contamination is due to clear in the coming days once the rain stops. Boxshall noted that the waters might not be too popular now, given the relatively cold temperatures:

Who would swim in 19 degrees anyway?

Well, there’s definitely one nation of pasty swimmers who might give it a go…

Read: Australia’s Uluru flooded after record-breaking Christmas downpour >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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