My Sea initiative: beaches in Rīga Gulf are critically dirty

Cigarette butts, plastic dishes and even old light bulbs are found lying on Riga Gulf beaches in alarming quantities, according to volunteers of the My Sea initiative, reported Latvian Radio Friday.

This is the fifth year of the initiative that has been monitoring Latvia's beaches by counting pieces of trash across Latvia's coastline. According to the organizers, the beaches here are becoming dirtier each year.

The places for swimming in Rīga were found to be especially dirty despite the local authorities claiming they're cleaned each day.

According to the My Sea initiative, except for the beach in Liepāja and places of Kurzeme, swimming places elsewhere in Latvia are critically unclean.

"This year the number of pieces of trash at the beach can be over 200 units per 100 meters," said Jānis Ulme, a My Sea representative.

"The main source [of the pollution] are the beach-goers, as more than half of the trash is plastic and trash, from plastic bags, bits of decomposed plastic, as well as cigarette butts, bottles and corks," said Ulme.

Beaches in Rīga are particularly unclean, with the Daugavgrīva coast having as many as 800 pieces of trash per 100 meters of beach.

Despite being cleaned each day--twice a day on the hottest days--beaches in Rīga are the dirtiest, with City Council representative Uģis Vidauskis saying that the problem stems from beach goers' lack of culture.

While the sand may be full of trash, the Health Inspection says that the water is not--according to the authority, it's safe to take a dip in every single of the 56 official swimming places in Latvia.

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