Environmentalists warn about water quality on Dublin beaches as Dollymount Strand and Sutton experience sewage pollution.

Dollymount Strand has high pollution count and a brown algae carpets the beach in a foul smelling sludge. Local people are clearly upset by the level of pollution.

It's the absolute pits, that’s from the heart.

Nicky Horton of Coastwatch explains the sludge is an algal bloom caused by a combination of fine weather and the nutrients that are probably caused by the sewage outfalls from Dublin.

Ireland fares well in a European Community (EC) report on Europe’s beaches, particularly beaches on the south and west of the country. But Dublin’s beaches do not perform so well.

Dublin Bay Environmental Group campaigner Karin Dubsky says Dublin Corporation and the County Council are doing great work with litter removal from beaches, but water quality is deteriorating.

In 1989 Sutton Beach broke the EC maximum levels for sewage pollution, but according to Irish interpretations of EC laws, these pollution levels were a one-off occasion, and therefore acceptable. As a result, the EC is taking action against Ireland.

According to Karin Dubsky, Ireland is saying,

We have our own national limit values which we will abide by, with 80% of our samples while the EEC also say you have to look at EEC values.

If Sutton Beach was in Denmark it would be closed immediately to the public and something would have to be done to improve the water quality.

However, Karen Dubsky is dismayed to see no improvements are being made and there are no plans to deal with the Howth outfall, the source of the raw sewage. She fears as the population of Dublin grows, increasing amounts of pollution will end up on this beach.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 27 July 1990. The reporter is John Murray.