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SURFERS TO PADDLE PETITION TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

13:19 9th May 2005 by
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SURFERS TO PADDLE 10,000 STRONG PETITION UP THE ‘RIVER ILL’ TO THE EUROPEAN
PARLIAMENT


4pm, Monday 9th May, in the Canal Ill in front of the European Parliament,
Strasbourg, surfers from the UK and France will paddle a giant inflatable
poo and a 10,000 strong petition to the doors of the European Parliament
building.

A delegation of campaigners from UK clean water campaigners Surfers Against
Sewage (SAS) will be in Strasbourg on the 9th May to lobby MEP’s to better
protect their health against polluted bathing water.

Joining forces with lobbying partners Surfrider Foundation, the
organisations will present a 10,000 strong petition collected by the French
based organisation that calls for the EU Bathing Water Directive to be
modernised to better protect the health of bathers and recreational water
users when they use Europe’s lakes, rivers and seas for year round
recreation.

The revision of the 29 year old Directive has its second reading today and
the surfers are looking for support from MEP’s for an amendment that would
improve water quality at recognised recreational waters where watersports
are routinely undertaken, either for competition, training or where they are
actively promoted by a local watersports association.

Much has changed in the way EU citizens use water for bathing since the
original Directive came into force in 1976. Since then bathing waters are
not just stretches of coastline where holidaymakers roll up their trousers
and take a paddle, but vast stretches of water used by hundreds of thousands
of surfers, windsurfers, kitesurfers, bodyboarders, kayakers, divers and
dinghy sailors. The nature of these sports means recreational water users
can have up to 3 times greater a health risk of contracting illness from
polluted water than the average bather.

With that in mind the campaigning groups are calling for recognition under
the revised Directive so that the most actively used sites receive
recognition under these laws and therefore see improvements to minimise
human health risks and in improving the water environment.

Without acknowledging this huge group of bathers the EU will have
discriminated against those most at risk in a Directive that’s core purpose
is to protect human health.

Richard Hardy, SAS Campaigns Director says: “The most well utilised
recreational watersports sites should benefit from environmental
improvements to reduce the impact of sickness from polluted water. Without
meaningfully acknowledging this group of bathers in the revised Directive
the European Parliament will have discriminated against those most at risk
of falling sick. We urge them for their full support again which they have
already given us at their first reading”.

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