SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has issued a public advisory against swimming at Sembawang Beach and Pasir Ris Beach after both beaches were downgraded from a “Good” to a “Fair” ranking in an annual beach grading exercise due to increased occurrences of elevated Enterococcus (EC) bacteria levels in the beach water.

NEA conducts regular water sampling at seven popular recreational beaches in Singapore, grading them based on World Health Organization (WHO) recreational water quality guidelines. Last year, all recreational beaches received a “Good” grade, indicating that the waters were suitable for all activities.

However, in the latest assessment, Sembawang Park Beach and Pasir Ris Beach have been downgraded to “Fair” due to the elevated EC bacteria count.

NEA has strongly advised members of the public against swimming at both beaches and engaging in other primary contact water activities until further notice.

Signages will be erected along Pasir Ris Beach and Sembawang Park Beach to convey the advisory. Non-primary contact water activities such as sailing, kayaking, and canoeing can continue as normal.

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East Coast Beach, Changi Beach, Punggol Beach, Seletar Island Beach, and Sentosa Beach have maintained a “Good” grade and are deemed suitable for all water activities.

However, beachgoers are encouraged to check the Beach Short-term Water Quality Information (BSWI) on the NEA website or the myENV app for real-time updates, as there might be occasional elevations in EC count.

NEA is collaborating with agencies like PUB, the National Parks Board (NParks), and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) to investigate and mitigate potential sources contributing to the elevated EC bacteria levels.

Preliminary findings suggest that the elevated EC levels originate from inland sources and are not transboundary in nature.

This marks the first advisory from August 2008 to January 2012, when a beach advisory was issued for Pasir Ris Beach.

Primary contact activities resumed in February 2012 after a comprehensive study of contributing factors and the implementation of remediation efforts.

Beachgoers are urged to stay informed and adhere to safety guidelines for their well-being.