The seawater close to the coast is important. Not only does it provide us with an amenity to enjoy for swimming and water sports, it can also supply foods such as fish and shellfish. If this coastal seawater becomes polluted with faecal matter from human sewage or animal faeces (this might be from livestock that are close to a river that meets the sea, or from seagulls or dogs on the beach itself), the levels of harmful bacteria can rise in the seawater and pose a threat to human health. When threshold levels of faecal bacteria are detected in the bathing waters, beaches can be closed, affecting tourism and local economies.
The Acclimatize project is identifying the sources of pollution and determining how much each of these sources contributes to overall pollution levels. This helps us to better understand where and how the pollution happens in the first place and figure out how it can be reduced or stopped.