Sligo Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards 2017
Rosses Point beach retains its Blue Flag as An Taisce celebrates 30 years of the international Blue Flag Programme. Blue Flag and Green Coast Beach Awards for 2017 were announced by An Taisce on Monday 22nd May. Sligo was awarded a Blue Flag Award for Rosses Point, with Green Coast Awards going to Rosses Point, Dunmoran and Streedagh. Rosses Point is only one of five beaches in the country to have A ‘Dual award’ for both Blue Flag and Green Flag status. The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Beaches that achieve this accolade must comply with a specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management. Rosses Point was awarded its first Blue Flag in 1988, the first year the Programme operated in Ireland. http://www.blueflagireland.org/
The Green Coast Award aims to acknowledge, promote and protect the environment of rural beaches. It places a strong emphasis on community and environmental activities.
A number of Coast Care groups in Sligo are active in taking care of local beaches and this is reflected in the Green Coast Awards. http://cleancoasts.org/
The applications for Blue Flag and Green Coast in Enniscrone and for Green Coast in Mullaghmore were unsuccessful. Enniscrone failed to meet just one of the 32 criteria required for blue flag status, that of water quality. The water quality status at Enniscrone was classified as good during the 2016 season. Water quality status for Mullaghmore was also classified as good during the 2016 season. To achieve a Blue Flag or Green Coast Award, excellent status is required. A routine bathing water sample was taken in June 2016, samples of Mullaghmore, Streedagh and Rosses Point beaches were non-compliant with Intestinal Enterococci limits. The quality of the three beaches has been classified as excellent over the last number of years. The exceedances on the three beaches, at the one time, were extremely unusual and the cause of the high results was unknown. Follow-up results detailed a return to excellent water quality.
Bathing Water sampling undertaken on 2nd August, 2016 at County Sligo’s five bathing water beaches detailed a further non-compliant Intestinal Enterococci result at Mullaghmore beach. Unfortunately this resulted in Mullaghmore losing its Green Coast Award. Investigations into the cause were inconclusive. Bathing water will continue to be monitored at Enniscrone and Mullaghmore and other identified bathing waters in the county throughout the 2017 bathing season. Sligo County Council will make every effort to assist in efforts to regain the awards for these beaches. Water quality results are posted on the beach notice boards during the bathing season. Alternatively, the results are available on Sligo County Council’s website http://www.sligococo.ie/Environment/Water/BathingWaterQuality/ or the national bathing water website http://splash.epa.ie/