May 24 â€" Pollution Report: 25 California Beaches Get Failing Grade

Santa Monica non-profit, Heal the Bay,  released their Annual California Beach Report Card this week, and although there are some high points officials could point to, there are also some lows.

“This Beach Report Card demonstrates that just because you go to the beach in a multi-million dollar neighborhood doesn’t guarantee it is safe for swimming,”said Dr. Mark Gold, Executive Director of Heal the Bay. “Whether you’re in San Pedro or in Malibu, you have a chance of being next to a highly polluted beach. Beach water quality knows no geographic or economic bounds.”

The report pointed out that 5 of the most polluted beaches were located in Los Angeles County, which the L. A. County Health Department repeatedly failed to act upon.  The Beach Report Card report also noted that one of the greatest causes of increased bacterial contamination was outflow from storm drains.  

The executive summary of the report noted that,

“Storm drain runoff is the greatest source of pollution to local beaches, flowing untreated to the coast and often contaminated with motor oil, animal waste, pesticides, yard waste and trash.”

Californians Against Waste has been an active advocate for curbing litter and its eventual contribution to the growing marine debris problem. Some of our bills this year are meant to address these issues and help keep California’s waters free from litter, toxins, and negative bacteria.

What You can Do:

  •  Just like bacterial pollution, a lot of material pollution comes through Storm Drains.  Land-based activities are the cause for 80% of marine debris. CAW is currently sponsoring a bill, AB 1940 that would create a multiagency taskforce to tackle Marine Debris.  Take Action to support this bill today!
  • Discarded cigarette butts have chemical remains that endanger water fleas, which feed on the bacteria and algae that fish cannot directly eat.  Cigarette Butts also are one of the more littered items out there.  Always dispose of your butts properly and Take Action to Send an E-mail to your Senator on this issue!
  •  Plastic bags have been linked to disease vectors; that is why they are a concern in South Africa, because they collect water as litter increase mosquito breeding.  Plastic trash itself can collect water away from bacterial predators.  CAW is sponsoring a bill right now to increase the recycling of plastic bags and encourage reusable totes.  Take Action to Support 2449!

“The public has a right to get water quality information that will help them make informed decisions about where to take their families swimming,” said Gold. “The Beach Report Card helps families understand which beaches they can visit without fear of getting sick.”  

To know if a beach near you is a concern for bacterial pollution, take a look at the Annual California Beach Report Card from Heal the Bay.