By Rose Barrett
The recent exposure of pollution in Dublin Bay has captured the interest – and indignation – of the capital’s population.
Speaking on behalf of SOS Dublin Bay, Peter Whelehan stated there was “overwhelming support” for the group following their high-profile campaign to highlight the pollution issues and poor quality of water in the bay.
Already over 20,000 people have signed their petition* calling on the government to stop the ongoing pollution.
“This campaign has been a strong contributory factor in securing a meeting with Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage this week in Fingal.”
In response to Gazette enquiries, Dublin City Council (DCC) replied that as per Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 79/2008), DCC monitors bathing water quality at two designated areas: Dollymount and Sandymount Strands.
This monitoring is undertaken during the designated bathing season, from June 1 to September 15 “and local authorities should communicate the assessment of water quality … and issue bathing warnings to the public in a timely and responsible manner.”
DCC further noted that it “in recognition of year-round swimming, DCC monitors water quality across all six bathing areas outside of the bathing season.”
It stated: “All designated bathing waters (Dollymount, Sandymount Strands) and other non-designated bathing areas (North Bull Wall, Half Moon, Merrion Strand and Shelly Banks) are inspected by DCC staff, with water samples taken at least 20 times during the bathing season and on a fortnightly basis throughout the year at each location.”
SF TD Chris Andrews tweeted a video of ‘frothy, coloured water’ in Dublin Bay on Saturday last which caused quite a Twitter stir.
Deputy Andrews later tweeted that DCC drainage section confirmed it wasn’t actually sewage.
“They indicated that it was caused by the heavy industries on the Poolbeg Peninsula; part of the cooling process for the ESB leads to an introduction of chlorine into the water which results in the ‘foaming’ visible.
“This is released to a drain which passes through Ringsend WwTP and Ringsend incinerator and is then released into the sea. The water released is reputedly clean and not harmful to swimmers or the eco system.”
However, despite DCC testing it every week during swimming season and every two weeks outside of the bathing season, both Deputy Andrews and SOS Dublin Bay stated this was insufficient, given the increase of swimmers in the open sea all year-round.
“It should be tested ideally every day, but at least tested several times a week, 12 months a year. It’s still not water that I would let my dog or my children paddle in,” said Deputy Andrews.
“It looks discoloured and unhealthy – that’s not acceptable for Dublin Bay, which is an UNESCO world heritage site – and it’s not good enough for the locals either!”
SOS Dublin Bay called on the water testing to be carried out once or twice a week all year round, and to have the results published immediately on social media, on sites like beaches.ie which most swimmers check.
PHOTO CAPTION – Dublin Bay the dark water indicates the discharges into the bay which is an UNESCO reserve