The swimming season in Kyiv opened on May 15, and the city authorities promised to fix the beaches long before the official opening. This year the task is complicated by the forthcoming Euro-2012, as in hot summer days foreign tourists would not mind to enjoy numerous bays of the capital.

In particular, the city authorities promised to provide secure and comfortable staying for foreign tourists, to clean up city beaches and leisure zones and to put information signs in three languages: Ukrainian, English and German.

Having investigated the case ForUm reports...

Walking along the Riverside station we have seen serious preparations to welcome foreign gusts: painting, building, cleaning, planting. There is still hope that "shocking elements" of water chillout in Kyiv will be improved.

Standing on the Pochtova square, we see the very building of the riverside station, which has been under reconstruction for as long as we remember.  They see the stations will be opened by Eur-2012. For the moment such declarations are doubtful...

Trying to get closer to Dniper we have to fight through the crowd of annoying touts, offering to take a tour along the river. The prices vary: from 50 hryvnias per hour for Kyiv panorama and from 120 hryvnias for a 4-hour tour to Kyiv water reservoir. As for the English language, well the situation is poor, but they say they have no intentions to hire interpreters. 

Going to Trukhanov Island we hear a conversation of two men: "Look what they've done for Swedish fans. And for us? Simply fenced the garbage and that's it."

True, a summer cafe under a tent and several portable toilets do not inspire at all. Having arrived to the island we feel a disappointment: familiar landscape of garbage carpet and rookery of stray dogs, barking at every comer.

Cautiously going to Hydropark we see yellow beaches and green park zones against the background of blue water. There are numerous cafes and amusement rides, as well as an open area with fitness machines for sport lovers.

The next stop is the beach "Venice" (Hydropark metro stop, accross the Venice bridge). Unfortunately this place has nothing to do with Italy and its beauty and comfort: piles of garbage, unfinished constructions, broken glass and...beachgoers. 

Foreign tourists had better stay away from the "Venice", otherwise they not only face a cultural shock, but risk to get lost, as there is not even a smell of the promised information board.

There is also another popular place in Kyiv - Obolon riverwalk. Landscaped area with its cafes and restaurants looks like a European resort: clean, neat and smells coffee and nice food. We wish all beaches were like that. Dreams, dreams...

Having seen the "landscaping" of Kyiv bays we go to the city officials to get some answers. Director of the communal enterprise "Pleso" Pavel Pokhodiy told ForUm that it was planned to open 11 city beaches and 14 leisure areas, open for picnics and swimming, but the verdict of the sanitary service was severe - only one city beach, Hydropark" was granted a permission.

According to the head of the sanitary service department Viktor Liashko, other beaches and leisure zones have not passed the inspection: bad water supplies, insufficient number of toilets and garbage bins, dirty sand. The official says that sitting on dirty sand one may get leptospirosis, cholera, hepatitis A and other diseases.

As for the Dniper water, the sanitary service assures that it's clean and adapted for swimming. But if the riverbanks are dangerous what do we have to do? Dive from a helicopter? 

The story continues for years and years: the sanitary service warns, but people still come and swim, and even Euro-2012 could not break the tradition. There is only one thing left to say: "People, beware of...!


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