How Clean is the Adriatic? A Look at Beach Quality and ‘Weak Spots’ in Dalmatia

Daniela Rogulj

Are you ready to dive into Dalmatia’s beaches this summer? Read this first. 

Many of us planning on camping out on the coast this summer know that a ‘refreshing’ swim is most likely off the cards, considering the sea is already too warm – and it’s only June. But how many of us beachgoers know – or perhaps even think about – the microbiological condition of the sea at the beaches we choose? In other words, how clean are the beaches in Dalmatia, really?

Don’t worry, Slobodna Dalmacija has good news to report on June 19, 2018. 

We can confidently say that the sea quality of the beaches does not seem to be a problem. According to the latest data on the current individual measurements performed on the total 964 beaches, 945 measured 98 percent for “excellent” microbiological quality. Eleven bathing sites were rated as “good”, eight as “satisfactory”, and no individual beach on our coast was rated with “unsatisfactory” quality.

The situation during the season, when a total of ten measurements are planned, will vary here and there, most often as a result of passive pollution. An example is the Red Cross (Crveni križ) beach in Novi Vinodolski, which was of “unsatisfactory” quality in the previous individual evaluation and in the most recent is rated as “excellent”. All in all, swimmers can find peace in knowing that almost all of our beaches boast a sea of excellent quality. 

But how is the quality measured?

The sea and coastal areas are exposed to constant larger and smaller sources of pollution, including those from fecal waters. Fecal Pollutant Indicators, Escherichia coli (E coli), and intestinal enterococci are simultaneously indicative of the presence of pathogens (microorganisms that cause various infectious diseases), whose possible existence can be estimated on the basis of the sanitary quality assessment.

Seawater quality measurements have been conducted by the Institute for Public Health of Split-Dalmatia County since the middle of May this year – they have taken 161 water samples on the beaches, which is four more than last year. The results are immediately entered into the database and are available to the public online (which is a system developed and maintained by the Split Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries).

Over time, the development of technology-enabled information on sea quality has become an integral part of swimming preparations: before you lie down your beach towel, you can learn all about the quality of the beach you choose, as well as all of the 964 monitored beaches in seven coastal counties, using these developed applications. You can check it out here

Split’s Kašjuni beach, for example, was most recently measured as “excellent”. But using this site, you can also find visible data on air and sea temperature, salinity, wind, visible pollution, floating waste materials, mineral fats, availability, the length and width of the beach, vegetation and beach equipment. Therefore, we know that Kašjuni has a floating barrier, cafe bar, rescue service, showers, and more. 

What about Dalmatia’s ‘weak’ spots?

The results of the latest measurement show that three beaches in Split-Dalmatia County were rated as “good” (Autocamp-Zapad in Omiš, Stomarica in Brela and Slatina in Tučepi), and that only three locations are of “satisfactory” quality (the beach in Kaštel Novi by the monument, Gojača in Kaštel Sućurac and Soline – east in Brela).

The ‘weak spots’ between the beaches in the county are traditionally those in Kaštela, as confirmed by Dr. Tatjana Puljak of the County Health Service NZJZ, explaining, however, that “good” and “satisfactory” ratings do not mean that the sea isn’t for swimming, but that oscillations in the results at one monitored point are the highest. And where oscillations are high, pollution can be expected, most often in the season when beaches are at full capacity. Overall, Puljak emphasizes that the sea is excellent for swimming and that it is even better the public is growing aware of the need to preserve the beaches. 


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