Impacts of Atmospheric and Anthropogenic Factors on Microbiological Pollution of the Recreational Coastal Beaches Neighboring Shipping Ports

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 13;19(14):8552. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19148552.


A comparative study of the two northeastern ports of the Adriatic Sea indicated that the port of Rijeka is microbiologically more loaded than the port of Pula and posing a greater threat to other ports through a potential transfer of pathogens by ballast water. Fecal indicator bacteria, Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci, were investigated seasonally in 2014-2015 in the ports and during the bathing season monitoring in the two bays where ports are located in 2009-2020. In addition, the indicators and pathogens related to human health were determined in the ports' seawater and sediment. The determined factors contributing to microbiological pollution were higher number of tourists and locals, potential wastewater and ballast water discharge and enclosed port configuration, with high solar radiation and low precipitation reducing the negative effects. Our research points to the necessity of including Clostridium perfringens in monitoring beach sand during the bathing seasons and a wider list of pathogens in port monitoring due to a potential transfer by shipping ballast water.

Keywords: Adriatic Sea; coastal bathing water; fecal bacteria; microbial pollution; shipping ports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropogenic Effects
  • Bathing Beaches*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Escherichia coli
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Seawater / microbiology
  • Water
  • Water Microbiology*


  • Water

Grants and funding

This work was financially supported by the: (1) IPA Adriatic Cross-Border Cooperation Programme—strategic project Ballast Water Management System for Adriatic Sea Protection (BALMAS) (project code 1° STR/0005); (2) University of Rijeka as part of the research project “Adaptation to the new EU Bathing Water Directive” (project code: uniri-biomed-18-292); (3) ProtectAS (Development of system for control and protection of ports from introduction of alien species) (project code: KK.; (4) KLIMOD (Computer model of pollution, flooding and spreading of pollution in rivers and coastal sea areas) (project code: KK. The APC was partly funded by ProtectAS.