Beach Blanket Blues

get more from BRO

A leading environmental group has found that 2007 was the second worst year in recent history for beach closures due to high pollution levels. In the 18th annual version of its “Testing the Waters” survey, the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recorded 22,571 closures or advisory days at the nation’s 3,516 most popular beaches last year, down from the record 25,643 in 2006. The group attributes the 12% reduction in beach closures to the drought affecting California and Hawaii. Less rain means less polluted run-off reaching beaches, but does not indicate that polluters have cleaned up their acts.

“Our nation’s beaches continue to suffer from serious water pollution that puts swimmers at risk,” NRDC reported, adding that 2007 was the third consecutive year with more than 20,000 cases of beaches being closed due to high pollution levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of infections associated with recreational water use has steadily increased in recent decades.

The group would like to see the federal government strengthen protections for the nation’s beaches in response to the growing problem. “Beach water quality standards are more than 20 years old and rely on outdated science and monitoring methods that leave beachgoers vulnerable to a range of waterborne illnesses such as gastroenteritis, dysentery and hepatitis along with respiratory ailments and other serious health problems,” NRDC researchers reported. “With the population in U.S. coastal areas growing, we can expect to see more Americans getting sick until the sources of beachwater contamination are addressed.”

More on this topic

Advertisment

in case you missed it

The 6th Annual King of the James Adventure Triathlon

This year marks the 6th annual ‘King of the James’ adventure triathlon in Downtown Richmond, Virginia. On Sunday, November 15th, individuals and teams...

Make a Plan: Vote This November to Protect Our Winters

There is a lot at stake this November. And Protect Our Winters (POW) is helping those who play outdoors to make a...

WanderLove Is Calling You to Rockingham County, VA

WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love. Experience the mountain peaks, Shenandoah River, and all of the winding roads in between...

Bike Salem in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Find an adventure that fits your speed when you visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, the only IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center on the East...