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Eco thumbs up for Swedish beaches

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Eco thumbs up for Swedish beaches
13:58 CEST+02:00
Seventy two ports and beaches in Sweden have received the prestigious Blue Flag status this year.

The flags are awarded each year by the Keep Sweden Clean organisation for their environmental friendliness. Beaches, marinas and ports are marked for their facilities which must be safe and water quality.

The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to over 3550 beaches and marinas in 41 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.

The programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

2011 sees three new entries in Sweden - Arkösunds Marina, Norrtälje Marina and Svalnäsbadet outside Lidköping.

Meanwhile as the weather warms up and people start heading for the beaches, there was a shock in store for bathers looking to take a dip in a bay in Dalsland, in south west Sweden yesterday.

Bengtsfors beach had to be cordoned off due to extremely high levels of arsenic detected in the soil there. Although not fatally dangerous, the arsenic, which was attributed to an industrial site nearby could cause a serious illness to a child for example if they put soil in their mouth.

It could get in to the water as well although that would again not pose a threat to human health, according to scientists.

It is unclear how long the bay, which is not a beach run by the local council, will remain closed to visitors

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