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Seabirds '10 times' more polluting than humans when it comes to dirtying Ireland's beaches

Who knew.

Image: Shutterstock/Oral Zirek

A LEADING OFFICIAL from Ireland’s environmental authority has stated that seabirds are “10 times” more polluting than humans for Ireland’s beaches.

This follows the publication of a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the safety of swimming in Irish waters.

For the most part, things have looked pretty good with most beaches receiving an A+ rating for water quality.

The six beaches in Ireland found not to meet EU standards were Merrion Strand, Loughshinny Beach and Rush’s South Beach – all of which are located in Dublin – as well as Strand Beach in Youghal, Ballyloughane Beach in Galway City and Duncannon Beach in Wexford.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme earlier today, EPA’s senior scientific officer Peter Webster made some specific observations about Merrion Strand.

One of the other issues with Merrion which is a very complicating factor is the genetic studies on the bacteria that are present in the water have shown that there is a reasonable proportion of that genetic material coming from seabirds.

“At the extent [sic] of offending all the ornithologists listening to the programme, seabirds are quite polluting. They are actually 10 times more polluting than people,” he went on.

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He noted that at the beach a sandbank had emerged around 100 yards away from the road and large numbers of birds could regularly be seen on it.

Webster also clarified that waters classified as poor are not necessarily unsafe to swim in, it’s just that they “don’t meet minimum microbiological standard set down by the EU” which he noted is now twice as strict as it used to be.

Find out more about how clean Ireland’s beaches are here. 

Read: These are the top 10 Irish beaches for 2016

Also: Here are 19 gorgeous Irish beaches to visit this year

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