from Sunday Herald, 15 June 2014
Eight beaches across Scotland officially condemned as “poor” because their polluted bathing waters make people sick have been given prizes for “good water quality” by the government-backed charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB).
Another 12 bathing waters contaminated by human and animal faeces and rated as merely “sufficient” by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) have also won KSB’s much-trumpeted seaside awards for 2014.
The awards have been denounced as “worthless” by environmentalists and criticised as “embarrassing” by politicians. They have earned KSB nearly £20,000 in application fees from local authorities and others.
A new analysis by Sepa has rated 20 of Scotland’s most popular bathing waters as “poor” because they fail to meet European pollution limits currently being brought into force. The waters are badly contaminated with toxic bacteria like E-coli from overflowing sewers or animal wastes washed off the land.
Yet eight of these dirty beaches - in South Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus, Aberdeenshire and Moray – have been celebrated by KSB as “some of the cleanest and best managed beaches in the country”. One – Central Beach in Nairn – was chosen by the Scottish tourism minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, to launch the awards two weeks ago.