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Report Shows Pollution Increased At Calif. Beaches In 2010

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


Aired 6/29/11

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.

Pollution Sources That Caused Closings and Advisories in 2010
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Above: Pollution Sources That Caused Closings and Advisories in 2010

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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.

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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.

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Avatar for user 'PeterM'

PeterM | June 29, 2011 at 2:37 p.m. ― 5 years, 8 months ago

Why is everybody surprised that our beaches still are polluted?
Sure urban and farm runoffs contribute to pollution, but why doesn't anybody care that our rivers are still used as urinals?
When EPA implemented the Clean Water Act, it used an essential test incorrect and as one of its many negative consequences, ignored not only 60% of the pollution in sewage Congress intended to treat, but also all the pollution caused by nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste. This waste besides exerting an oxygen demand, just like fecal waste, is also a fertilizer for algae, thus contributes to eutrophication, causing dead zones and of course also food for bacteria. ( />The media, because this is a technical issue, will not investigate and as result nobody is holding the EPA accountable.

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Avatar for user 'tsaisajoke'

tsaisajoke | June 30, 2011 at 10:24 a.m. ― 5 years, 7 months ago

Its disturbing that over half of the pollutants for every year listed are "unknown" or "other". Seems like they need more categories or more descriptive classification. I agree with Peter, the technical aspect of this report goes beyond the capabilities of the media to inform the general public well enough to hold the EPA to task.

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