Swimming in Europe: Blue Flag locations ranked and mapped

The Guardian published this map a few weeks ago.  According to them it’s “every location”, so of course I went to my usual locations and discover neither Sandycove nor the Guillamene is marked. So this applies only to locations that are entered for the European Blue Flag scheme. But it’s still useful. You’ll have to visit the Guardian page for the actual interactive map, sorry. They generated their data tables as far as I can see.

I’ve mentioned before I have reservations about the Blue Flag system, due to the sampling problems in it, I actually don’t think it’s strict enough.

But I’ve also seen how people who swim in locations that lose Blue Flag designation delude themselves about the reasons and still like to tell themselves their location is clean (Dunmore East is my favourite example, but it also just happened on yesterday’s post), or that the testing is too strict. In fact I’ve repeatedly said I don’t think the testing is strict enough and there are problems with testing frequency. But I have no doubt that it’s been hugely useful in cleaning up water quality around Europe and in Ireland. A similar system would be very useful elsewhere. I’ve swam and surfed in South California where locals warn you not to get in the water for 24 hours after heavy rain due to run-off causing health risks.

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