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Seagull poo posing problem at Dublin beach

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), adult in flight (Photo by Jiyang Chen via Wikimedia Commons)

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), adult in flight (Photo by Jiyang Chen via Wikimedia Commons)

A surge in seagull droppings is fouling up the water at a popular Dublin beach, Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

Peter Webster, a senior scientist at the EPA, said seagull poo was a significant contributory factor to the poor water quality at Merrion Strand beach in the south of the Irish capital.

“We have a possible combination of impacts from surface waters but also from an increasing number of seagull droppings on a daily basis,” he said following the release of the agency’s annual report into bathing water quality.

“Seagull poo has 10 times more bacteria than human poo,” he told Newstalk Radio.

The proliferation of seagulls has wreaked havoc in Dublin in recent years.

Last July, senator Denis O’Donovan called for a cull of the “vicious” birds, branding them a danger to society.

City residents frequently complain of being woken up by the birds, particularly during the nesting season from early summer.

Irish media has also been awash with countless tales of birds swooping on outdoor eating areas to take food from hapless diners, and litter strewn around the streets from raids on garbage bags.

However, seagulls and their nests are currently protected by national and European regulations, which would appear to rule out a cull.

Overall, six beaches around Ireland failed minimum clean water tests.

The EPA said swimmers had a 10 percent risk of contracting a viral infection at these locations.

However, many believe they’re more likely to catch a cold than a virus from swimming in chilly Irish waters, even at the height of summer.