Foreshore Beach at Port Botany is Sydney’s most polluted, according to a report ranking the cleanliness of NSW beaches, but swimming spots around the state are generally becoming cleaner.
The report by the Department of Environment’s Beachwatch water quality monitoring service examined 94 of Sydney’s beaches and estuarine sites. About 90 per cent were ranked “good” or “very good”.
Eight were found to be “poor”. And only Foreshore Beach, which is next to Sydney Airport’s third runway, received a “very poor” rating – for the second year running.
Foreshore was closed earlier this year after concerns were raised after the ocean took on a mysterious orange tint.
Beaches ranked “very poor” are often unsuitable for swimming and susceptible to contamination from sewage overflows.
Sydney’s best-ranked beaches included Clovelly, Watsons Bay and Mona Vale.
The northern beaches were ranked the city’s best: 97 per cent received top rankings, compared to 89 per cent for southern Sydney and 83 per cent for central Sydney.
Southern Sydney’s beaches were our most improved; the number of its beaches ranked good or very good rose 12 percentage points on the previous year.
The report found NSW beaches were among the cleanest in the world and becoming cleaner.
Of the 144 NSW ocean beaches examined, 97 per cent were ranked “good” or “very good” – a marginal increase on last year. Ratings across another 100 additional swimming spots, including estuarine and river swimming spots, also increased slightly.
“Water quality improved at 29 sites this year, moving from good to very good,” NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes said.
But the state’s opposition has seized on the report’s finding that 40 NSW swimming spots are unsafe to argue the government should not have cut jobs from Sydney Water.
“The Baird government has cut over 450 staff from Sydney Water, or about 15 per cent of its staff. Most of these jobs have been cut from frontline maintenance,” opposition water spokesman Peter Primrose said.
“There’s been a marginal improvement, yes,” Mr Primrose said. “But the report found one of the main issues to be concerned about is the effect of run-off from rain.
“[Much of the improvement in beach cleanliness is because] last year was also the driest summer in almost 30 years.”
Sydney’s worst beaches
Bayview Baths – Poor
Rose Bay Beach – Poor
Tambourine Bay – Poor
Northbridge Baths – Poor
Davidson Reserve – Poor
Boat Harbour – Poor
Gymea Bay Baths – Poor
Foreshore Beach – Very poor