Publication date: Sep 05, 2023
Fecal bacteria in bathing seawater pose a substantial public health risk and require rigorous monitoring. The unexpected beach closures during the COVID-19 lockdowns have afforded unique opportunities to evaluate the impact of human activities on bathing water quality (BWQ). This study examined the temporal changes in fecal coliforms (FC) and streptococci (FS) within bathing seawater across a popular coastal region in Morocco during two lockdown periods (2020 L and 2021 L), comparing these data with observations from pre-lockdown years (2018, 2019) and post-lockdown periods (2020, 2021, 2022). Our findings illuminate the influential role the hiatus periods played in enhancing bathing water quality, attaining an “excellent” status with marked reductions in fecal coliform and streptococci levels. Consequently, the FC/FS analysis exposed a clear preponderance of humans as the primary sources of fecal contamination, a trend that aligns with the burgeoning coastal tourism and the escalating numbers of beach visitors. Additionally, the presence of domestic animals like camels and horses used for tourist rides, coupled with an increase in wild animals such as dogs during the lockdown periods, compounded the potential sources of fecal bacteria in the study area. Furthermore, occasional sewage discharge from tourist accommodations and wastewater treatment plants may also contribute to fecal contamination. To effectively mitigate these concerns and bolster public health, a commitment to relentless surveillance efforts, leveraging novel and innovative tools, is essential. These findings underline the crucial interplay between human activities and the health of our coastal ecosystems, emphasizing the need for sustainable practices for a safer and healthier future.
|Healthier||Bathing water quality|
|Tourism||Fecal indicator bacteria|