Seven of the ten dirtiest beaches in California are in Los Angeles County, according to new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Santa Monica and Catalina Island are home to all of them except for Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.
The filthy beaches in SaMo are located at the pier and SaMo State Beach. Test results were based on weekly water samples taken near storm drains and other contamination sources in ankle-deep water and indicated unsafe levels of fecal matter. According to today’s LA Times,
Across California, these contained unhealthful levels of enterococcus, total coliform and fecal coliform bacteria — found in human and animal waste — 7% of the time, down from 12% the previous year.
Bathers in tainted water can contract gastroenteritis, ear infections, skin rashes or other symptoms.
While the decline might lead some to think conditions have improved, officials say since rainfall was down considerably last year, they had expected more dramatic improvements.
NRDC’s website has a press release citing this as part of a larger trend.
“Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches,” shows that the number of closing and advisory days due to sewage spills and overflows more than tripled to 4,097 from 2006 to 2007, but the largest known source of pollution continues to be contamination from stormwater, which caused more than 10,000 closing and advisory days.
Lately, the public’s obsession with the environment has been focused on fossil-fuel linked pollution and “going green,” a loosely termed moniker that is used as much for marketing purposes as it is for consciousness raising. It’s comparatively easier to attempt to drive less or use a canvas bag when shopping, or, via legislation and policy, to get utilities and business to address their role in pollution, something in which California has had some success. However, nature and the storm drains it utilizes and the waters they impact, brings a complexity that will be a whole other challenge.
But we knew this wasn’t going to be easy.