Swimming banned in 21 beaches in six governorates due to pollution
15/06/2019 17:09, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - There are 21 beaches closed to swimming this summer, spread over six governorates, namely Ariana Governorate (3 beaches), Ben Arous Governorate (7 beaches), Bizerte Governorate (4 beaches), Nabeul Governorate (2 beaches), Sousse Governorate (one beach) and Gabes Governorate (4 beaches).

The Director of Environmental Health and Protection at the Ministry of Health, Mohammed Rabhi, said Saturday at a press conference held in Tunis, devoted to presenting the results of seawater quality control during the period from January 1 to June 10, 2019, that his department had set up a national network for seawater control, at 530 control points along the coast.

According to Rabhi, the network is set up in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the classification of seawater quality, which are considered "stricter" than European standards in the European Union (EU) countries, since monitoring operations are carried out twice during the summer season and every month during winter.

Surveys conducted during the period between the beginning of 2019 and 10 June 2019, resulted in the collection of 2,170 seawater samples, resulting in the classification of 66% of beaches as good or very good, while 9% of beaches were classified in the category, quite good quality. The same source indicates that 16% of the beaches monitored require follow-up, while 5% of the beaches monitored in the survey are of poor quality, and 4% are of very poor quality.

Rabhi explained that the poor water quality of some beaches was mainly due to the discharge of sewage and untreated water as well as industrial and solid waste, which is a danger to the health of summer visitors, calling on citizens to refrain from swimming on these beaches.

He added that the Ministry of Health had sent letters to the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Local Affairs and Environment to this effect, with a view to prohibiting bathing at the above-mentioned beaches and taking the necessary measures to reduce the impact of seawater pollution.

The number of beaches banned from swimming in 2018 was 19 beaches, compared to 21 in 2017, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The conference also provided the opportunity to present the results of hygiene control operations carried out during Ramadan 2019, which identified 7,626 violations and the proposal to close 243 businesses in violation of hygiene conditions.

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