Less bird poop can mean more swimming at Ottawa beaches, public health unit says

Hoping to get in a few more swims at your local beach this summer? Ottawa Public Health says there are steps you can take to keep the water clean and free of bird droppings.

The local health unit put out a Twitter thread Friday morning, as it’s been known to do to share lighthearted but important messages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This time, OPH put its signature tone to use explaining how a rise in bird droppings has contributed to no-swim advisories at Ottawa’s five supervised beaches this summer.

OPH urged beachgoers to refrain from feeding gulls, ducks and other birds while out swimming to cut down on the avian excrement.

It also encouraged residents to take their garbage with them when they go to keep bins from overflowing and attracting more birds to the site.

“If we all do our part, we can reduce the amount of bird poop on our beaches and in our beach water, which will lead to a safer & cleaner summer for everyone,” OPH tweeted, before adding, “And yes, we’ve said poop 12 times in five tweets.”

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OPH lists daily swimming recommendations on its website for Mooney’s Bay, Britannia, Westboro and Petrie Island beaches. Friday’s advisory shows swimming is not recommended at Westboro Beach or Petrie Island East Bay.

Also contributing to no-swim advisories at Ottawa beaches are high levels of E. coli and any significant rainfalls.

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