Swimming ain’t what it used to be

Swimming ain’t what it used to be

We know that climate change is having an impact on water in terms of rising sea levels, but it could affect the joy we get from swimming too.

Global warming is melting glaciers at an alarming rate, and the incidence of floods is already on the rise, swimming it seems could also become hazardous. Water is fun and essential for life, but it can harbour life threatening microbes too. Sadly, as our waters heat up, we are seeing an increase in water contamination, and trachomas, diarrhoea and cholera are just some of the results. Warmer water creates a better breeding ground for bugs and disease, and in some cases can make swimming extremely dangerous.

Aside from what is in the water, what lives around the water will also become more problematic. Longer periods of warmth will mean that midges will flourish, as will mosquitos. We need the cold spells to get rid of these little critters who can make swimming such an unpleasant experience. When the water stays warmer for longer however, midges and mosquitoes survive longer and breed better. The upshot of this is that they bite more and spread diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. Swimming around them simply won’t be an option when the global temperatures go above the dangerous 2 degree rise.

And it’s not just in developing countries we are seeing an impact on swimming either. In many Western countries, increased levels of microbe contamination have been seen in waters where people relax and kids play. Organisms exceed expectations and their numbers swell, and this often unseen threat can increase the rate of infections that have previously been considered rare. Children, with less developed immune systems, and a love for playing in the water are most threatened by these bugs too.

Hotter weather may seem like a nice thing for the kids, but with global warming, we need to watch out for them. Swimming may become something we need to think about a little further and get waters tested first.

 

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