A recent water quality assessment by the Natural Resources Defense Council cites that the levels of ocean pollution required more than 20,000 mandatory closing and advisory days at beaches across the United States this year. Pollution and contamination levels have not been diminishing, and this was the fourth consecutive year for beach closures to reach record numbers.
Contaminated beaches can cause a wide range of conditions in swimmers such as dysentery, pinkeye, skin, nose, and ear infections, and hepatitis. Nancy Stoner, Water Program Co-director at the NRDC, further explains, “Pollution from dirty stormwater runoff and sewage overflows continues to make its way to our beaches. This not only makes swimmers sick – it hurts coastal economies,” adding, “Americans should not suffer the consequences of contaminated beachwater.
The report, for the first time in its 19 years of publication, cited climate change as a contributing factor in beachwater quality. Increases in temperature allow for more growth of pathogens which led to gastrointestinal conditions and neurological problems. Changes and intensification of storms will also cause more severe run-off and sewage issues.