Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Report Shows Pollution Increased At Calif. Beaches In 2010

A sign warns beach-goers to stay out of the water because of contamination.

Photo by David McNew / Getty Images

Above: A sign warns beach-goers to stay out of the water because of contamination.


A report released Wednesday shows California had persistent problems with pollution at its beaches last year.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) annual report, "Testing the Waters," looks at U.S. beach water quality.

Have Something To Add?

Become A KPBS Source

California waters are not getting any cleaner.

"Unfortunately beach water quality got worse the last year compared with 2009," said Noah Garrison with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And the number of closing and advisory days at our beaches nearly doubled."

He said what's in the polluted ocean stew are pathogens and other harmful bacteria.

"The implications of swimming in contaminated water are that people come down with skin rashes, pink eye, stomach ailments, gastroenteritis, ear, nose and throat problems and respiratory ailments," said Garrison. "There's a host of illnesses and diseases that are associated with swimming in contaminated water."

Garrison said several San Diego County beaches from the Mexican border to Camp Pendleton were closed because of pollution last year.


Read The Report

Read The Report

NRDC's annual survey of water quality and public notification at U.S. beaches finds that the number of beach closings and advisories in 2009 hit their sixth-highest level in the 20-year history of the report.

Download document

To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.

But he said 20 county beaches had no closings or pollution advisory days in 2010, including Pacific Beach and Carlsbad Municipal Beach.

Garrison said stopping the pollution at its source, which means storm water runoff in San Diego, can help reduce the toxic mix finding its way to the ocean.

California ranked 22nd out of 30 coastal states (including the Great Lakes Region) in the NRDC report.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.