German lifesavers urge gov't to counter closure of public swimming pools

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-10 00:37:27|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Too many public swimming pools in Germany had closed or were in a bad condition, the German Life Saving Association (DLRG) said, as the petitions committee of the Bundestag lower house of parliament discussed the issue in a public hearing on Monday.

To counteract the closures of public swimming pools in Germany, DLRG called for a "nationwide master plan" and presented a petition which was signed by around 120,000 supporters.

The German lifesavers called for the establishment of a new association which would be "exclusively responsible" for coordinating the restoration of German public pool facilities within a ten-year timeframe.

According to DLRG's estimate, the financial requirements for the restoring public pools were quantified at 14 billion euros (15.5 billion U.S. dollars).

For years, the DLRG had been "very concerned about the disastrous trend" of closures of public pools in Germany, said DLRG President Achim Haag on Monday at the petitions committee.

In the last 20 years, an average of around 80 indoor and outdoor public swimming pools had been closed annually in Germany. According to DLRG, many German municipalities were under financial pressure and could no longer finance the maintenance of public swimming pools.

Swimming clubs and water rescue organizations in particular were concerned about a shortage of training facilities, often causing long waiting times for swimming courses, according to DLRG.

At German schools, swimming as part of official school lessons was "often no longer taking place". Already, 25 percent of primary schools in Germany would no longer have access to nearby public swimming pools.

Around 60 percent of ten-year-olds in Germany was not considered safe swimmers, according to a survey commissioned by the DLRG.