Swimming At Pasir Ris & Sembawang Beaches Discouraged Due To High Bacteria Levels: NEA

Avoid Swimming At Pasir Ris & Sembawang Beaches For The Time Being

The National Environment Agency (NEA) issued an advisory today (5 Feb) discouraging swimming at Pasir Ris Beach and Sembawang Park Beach due to high bacteria levels detected in the waters.

Both beaches have been assigned a ‘Fair’ grade in NEA’s annual beach grading exercise. Their grades dipped from ‘Good’ the previous year.

However, other water activities such as sailing, kayaking and canoeing can resume.

Increased Enterococcus (EC) bacteria levels detected

Crucially, the waters of both beaches have increased levels of Enterococcus (EC) bacteria.

According to WebMD, the EC bacteria is highly resistant to many antibiotics. Moreover, ingesting the water heightens the risk of gastrointestinal infection.

The increased occurrence of elevated bacteria levels was detected in NEA’s annual beach grading exercise, which is based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recreational water quality guidelines.

The EC levels in the waters at both Pasir Ris and Sembawang beaches were greater than 200 cfu/100ml for more than 5% of the water samples over three years. As a result, a ‘Fair’ grade was assigned to them.

Signages to be put up at Pasir Ris & Sembawang beaches

To discourage visitors from swimming at Pasir Ris and Sembawang beaches, NEA will be putting up signages.

Image courtesy of National Environment Agency

The agency stated that the advisory will remain until further notice.

Although swimming and other primary contact activities are not encouraged, visitors can still engage in non-primary contact activities such as sailing, kayaking and canoeing.

NEA investigating sources of elevated EC bacteria

NEA is working to investigate and mitigate the potential sources of the elevated EC bacteria detected in the waters. To do so, it will collaborate with other agencies such as PUB, NParks and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

From preliminary investigations, the increased bacteria levels were attributed to inland sources, and are not transboundary.

Presently, the other five recreational beaches in Singapore have been assigned a ‘Good’ grade, meaning that visitors can engage in all water activities there:

  • East Coast Beach
  • Changi Beach
  • Punggol Beach
  • Seletar Island Beach
  • Sentosa Beach

However, beachgoers are still encouraged to refer to the Beach Short-term Water Quality Information (BSWI) on the NEA website to assess the situation before making plans. Alternatively, they may also download the myENV app on their devices.

Currently, NEA provides weekly updates on the water quality levels at all seven recreational beaches.

Also read: NEA Lets You Check Beach Water Quality Levels So You Don’t End Up Swimming In Unclean Waters

NEA Lets You Check Beach Water Quality Levels So You Don’t End Up Swimming In Unclean Waters

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Featured image adapted from Reddit and Florence C. on Foursquare.

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