Come on in, the Water's Lovely

Article excerpt

Byline: Ceri Jones

IT'S NEVER been a better time to be beside the seaside in Wa

es . A record number of bathing waters have been given the Good Beach Guide seal of approval, showing that the sea around our coast is getting cleaner. A survey published today by the Marine Conservation Society shows that 101 beaches in the country have been recommended in its guide for this year. The publication comes just weeks after a record 103 Welsh beaches won Keep Wales Tidy group's Seaside Awards.

For the first time the Good Beach Guide, which is published every year as part of the conservation society's campaign for clean seas, recom-mends over half of Britain's bathing waters, 421 in total.

This is 80 more than last year and the largest annual increase since it was first published 16 years ago.

Further encouraging news is a decrease in numbers failing the minimum EC standard for bathing water quality - from 61 to 53 this year.

Wales, which already attracts 12 million visitors to its coastline every year, recorded the largest regional increase in the number of recommended beaches with 35 more than last year.

Well over half of our beaches - 101 beaches out of the 186 monitored - are re-commended this year. Pembrokeshire chalks up the largest number of recommended beaches with 35, followed by Anglesey with 18.

Brian Howells, Pembrokeshire's cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, said it was a wonderful achievement. ``It reflects great credit on the agencies responsible for our coastline and beaches,'' he said. ``It is also extremely good news for visitors.''

The number of Welsh beaches failing the minimum EC Mandatory Standard has also decreased from 21 to 13.

The society puts the improvement largely down to moves to tackle agricultural pollution and hopes that such efforts will continue along with the programmes to up-grade sewage discharges. …