The British Marine Conservation Society said in its annual Good Beach Guide that only about half of the country’s beaches are fit for swimming this year.
The society said it performed water quality tests at 777 British beaches and determined only 370 were “recommended” for swimming, a decline of 17 percent from last year, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
The figure represented the largest single-year drop since the start of the Goof Beach Guide 22 years ago and the lowest number of recommended beaches in seven years.
Thomas Bell, coastal pollution officer for the Marine Conservation Society, said flood water from rains last summer combined with sewage overflows to pollute many areas.
“Today’s results reflect last summer’s heavy rain which swept waterborne pollutants like raw sewage, petrochemicals and farm waste into rivers and the sea,” he said. “We’re concerned that the existing infrastructure for handling storm pollution may not be up to the job.”
The society warned that swimming in waters not on the recommended list could lead to infections of the ear, throat, skin and eye as well as other medical issues.