CHAGUARAMAS – THE Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) is advising against bathing in at least two popular beaches in Chaguaramas due to high levels of bacteria.
This was revealed at the IMA 6th community research symposium titled The Sea and Me: Livelihoods and Learning, at the Carenage Fish Market on Wednesday.
IMA research officer (Microbiology) Sheldon Ramoutar said the public should avoid bathing at Welcome Bay throughout the year and Williams Bay during and after rain.
Ramoutar said, “The bathing-beach water quality was evaluated to identify possible sources of sewage contamination by measuring the bacteriological water quality and physico-chemical parameters along Chaguaramas peninsula.
“Three bacterial indicators were chosen for this study – E coli, enterococci and faecal coliform. They were analysed using a membrane filtration method in accordance with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) protocol.”
“The high bacteria level’s toward the western end were likely due to land-based run-off, and the westerly flow of currents which brings debris from all other locations to this area.”
Ramoutar said sea bathers’ exposure to health risks in these areas was increased.
He said higher bacteria levels were observed during or after rain.
Ramoutar called for proper signage at beaches to let people know the safe areas and times to bathe.