Impacts of climate change on pollution (bathing and shellfish)
David Sheahan, Jackie Maud, Andrew Wither, Colin Moffat and Clemens Engelke
Wither A., Stapleton, C., Wyer, M., McDonald, A. and Kay, D. (2013) Impacts of climate change on pollution (bathing and shellfish). MCCIP Science Review 2013, 252-256, doi:10.14465/2013.arc26.252-256
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Microbial pollution of coastal waters impacts on health, economic resource utilisation and compliance with EU Directives.
This pollution is episodic and driven by rainfall, making routine monitoring data very misleading.
The evidence-base for policy interventions to minimise these effects is under-developed compared to the chemical parameters.
Predicting the effects of interventions to attenuate this pollution loading is difficult and work to date suggests that farm-level measures have a wide range of effects which are often site-specific.
Climate change may reduce the frequency of summer rainstorms affecting west coast UK bathing and shellfish harvesting waters which should reduce rates of non-compliance against EU bathing water standards.
This reinforces the imperative to understand the relative contributions of sewage and diffuse pollution contributions in the UK through quantitative microbial source apportionment and sanitary profiling of bathing and shellfish harvesting waters.
This is required to take full advantage of new regulatory approaches such as real-time prediction of microbial water quality with related discounting of samples impacted by non-sewage fluxes derived principally from livestock.
This new approach provides the potential for health protection, Directive compliance and cost minimisation and is compatible with climate change scenarios.