Three of the country's 10 main beaches are currently unsuitable for water sports, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
An EPA spokesman said that tests conducted on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 showed that the water quality at Fulong (福隆) Beach in Taipei County, Chiting (崎頂) Beach in Miaoli County and Taan (大安) Beach in Taichung County were rated "below average" because they contained high levels of escherichia coli -- a bacteria that could lead to intestinal diseases -- and enterococci bacteria.
He said that Hsin Chinshan Beach (新金山) in Taipei County received an "excellent" rating, while the water quality was classified as "good" at six other six beaches: Masago (馬沙溝) in Tainan County, Tunghsiao (通霄) in Miaoli County, Kenting Tiaoshih (墾丁跳石) in Pingtung County, Shanyuan (杉原) in Taitung County and Chichin (旗津) and Hsitzuwan (西子灣) in Kaohsiung.
The EPA has been conducting tests every two weeks during the swimming season. The agency generally advises swimmers to avoid going to a beach within three days of a storm, because rain can wash pollutants into the sea, rendering the water unsuitable for swimming and other water sports.