Swimming pools and public health

 

Sir, – I refer to the swimming bans repeatedly issued in June regarding some of Dublin’s most popular beaches (“Swimming forbidden at four north Dublin beaches”, June 5th).

Poor confidence in bathing water quality has deterred many of us from venturing out. But those of us who turn our back on the sea and take a hike instead to the local pool may fare no better. It is of major concern to the Environmental Health Association of Ireland (EHAI) that water quality in many leisure facilities in Ireland falls far below what is desired. Pools are frequently found to be contaminated with faecal matter, and fewer than 25 per cent of pools subscribe to the “Ireland Active White Flag Code”. The closure of local swimming pools due to “gross contamination” is not uncommon.

However, closures are voluntary only. The Government has failed to implement legislation on this matter, despite our repeated calls. We are well behind other countries in this; for example the UK and Australia have had legislation in place since 1998 and 1964, respectively. The EHAI has asked for a meeting with the Minister for Health to discuss the urgent need to regulate the aquatic industry, but with no success so far.

With the repeated problems on our beaches, the lack of initiative to regulate our leisure industry and our growing obesity epidemic in Ireland, I ask the Minister, where now are we supposed to swim? – Yours, etc,

PETER GAFFEY,

Chairman,

Environmental Health

Association of Ireland,

Carlton Terrace,

Novara Avenue,

Bray, Co Wicklow.