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Pollution and its effects on the beach

“Nearly 4,000 beach closings and swimming advisories were issued by the state and local governments in 1995” (Beach 1). This statistic shows that America’s beaches are progressively becoming more polluted. The American society today should take full advantage of the opportunity of having beaches also try and keep them as sanitary as possible. Beach pollution is known to be one of the biggest global concerns in the world. But what is beach pollution? Beach pollution is the unsanitary conditions of the worlds beaches and seas. Our California beaches are becoming more and more polluted, hence why parents aren’t taking their children to beaches. Wildlife is greatly endangered by pollution causing issues like death or extinction. Animals are affected as much as humans. Litter and human waste contribute to marine and beach pollution, which dangers the environment causing harm to animals and humans.

Beach pollution is considered to be one of the biggest controversial issues in the new era. Beach pollution not only affects the habitat of the marine life, it also has effects on human hosts who are exposed to the wastes in put out in sea. Beach pollution is wastes combined overtime to create/form a type of bacteria in which spreads illnesses, Usually caused by tainted waters from industrial factories. Beach pollution affects wildlife drastically from killing marine life also abusing the coral reef with pollution. Human waste pipelines that are not properly taken care of and leak through to the waters contribute as well. Due to non-properly maintained pipelines, human feces and other wastes are overflowing within the lines and forcing it to squeeze into the water streams. Beach pollution does not necessarily mean direct dumping of wastes into the sea itself. Twenty miles off shores and coastlines are industrial factories that are too far to discharge wastes. These long traveled distances of wastes from factories and humans are combined together through the same sewage pies and travel towards the sea. Although there are many factories and humans living off shore, this can result in major malfunction of pipe thus causing water to pollute and contaminate living organisms within the miles of its radius.

One of the main causes of beach and marine pollution, are people who abuse the privilege and litter; disregarding the law. “Seven billion tons of debris is entering the world beaches annually” (Beach and Ocean 1). The debris can range from human wastes to debris from vehicles that chemically alter the balance of pH in water in the atmosphere: known as “acid rain”. These wastes all contaminate water in different ways. The results of pollution cannot only be found in pipelines, but beach pollution can be contributed from even sixty miles out. The affects that this has on marine beaches are devastating; it also shows the lack of care and awareness to the inhabitants and habitats themselves. Items that are being polluted can be restrained. Things like empty bottles being left, used napkins, leftover food being left on shore, also big reason bonfires.

These few things may not seem as dangerous to this environment as you think but in reality these few things affect beaches drastically. “In 2011 the number of closings and advisory days at ocean bay and great lakes reached its 3rd highest level since NRDC began tracking these events 22 years ago” (Executive 2). This can result in many profits in the area to be at all time lows. On top of that, the area that Hurricane Katrina hit, in New Orleans, already had been economically devastated and the BP oil spill has contributed to the New Orleans struggle to establish economic prosperity. Although there are many organizations dedicated to cleaning up beaches, the task is simply overwhelming without the general public doing their part. Not only is it affecting mankind but also harming wild life, and other animals. This results in many ways of transferring infections to other hosts, if contagious, or contaminating our food chain.

Many propositions have been issued on how to prevent beach pollution from exceeding beyond its full capacity. To help beaches avoid such disasters, there are certain programs that the government does to help keep the beaches clean issue many beach clean-up crews. Is it enough to prevent every beach from decaying, the answer is no, but it does help a bit. “The BP (British Petroleum) oil spill, which began with the April 20, 1010 explosion on the deep water horizon rig and ended when the well was capped on July 15 2012” (Executive 2). This devastated economic interests within the region. Not only did the BP oil spill ruin profits, but also caused local fisherman and other marine small time businesses to be put on hold from their income because it was out of their hands. Oil spills are bad enough to get passed by and a spill that continued on for 4 months is aimlessly long and dangerous.If there could be a way to maintain humans from littering their waste from beaches, next step would be to prevent Government officials to keep and enforce strict regulations on their oilrigs and not allow such disasters and catastrophes to continue. Oil and water are two different compounds not allowing them to “mix” or “come together” develop a chain of debris. The NRDC concludes, “The spill affected beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida” (Executive 2). Unfortunately executive failed to mention all the ports and economic catastrophes all along the coast of the nation Mexico. This is a very serious health warning, which should have been taken care of more seriously because in the long run, beaches are going to compile too much waste and waters wouldn’t be bale to be drinkable anymore.

Pollution that has been left alone for a number of days/weeks often decays into millions of pieces of bacteria left behind for other organisms to attract. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has estimated “up to 3.5 million people became ill from contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows each year” (Executive 2). These numbers are devastating, but not enough to trigger and alarm public health services. The EPA understands how severe these situations are, but 3.5 million people are a very small fraction of the population being exposed and falling ill. This can be controversial because not everyone could be getting sick as the result of the water but by the air itself and weather conditions. Beaches have been known to have some of the worst unsanitary conditions, some try and prevent it but non-biodegradable wastes have been piled up to keep on living on other bacterial cells. “Illnesses associated from the beach water include stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis, and hepatitis” (Executive 2). Children are more vulnerable than adults because weaker immune systems that have not been exposed to wastes as much as adults. The NRDC is finding new ways to commute to this devastating dilemma. The young, the elderly and those with weak immune systems must be careful, “they are most likely developed illnesses or infections after swimming in the polluted water” (Beach 2). Although there are other beaches, some just are to horrifically pollute to even be heard of.

Many bodies of water near urban areas are highly polluted. This is the result of both garbage dumped by individuals, and dangerous chemicals illegally dumped by industries. The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills life that inhabits water-based ecosystems. “Dead fish, birds, dolphins, and many other animals often wind up on beaches, killed by pollutants in their habitat” (Kuipers 1). This results in many bones and other useless objects to wash up shore where individuals such as babies play in the sand. Since infants and children usually put their hands in their mouths or eat without washing their hands, this can transfer the germs into them and cause them to get sick. It is an invisible fight against germs and microorganisms that make it hard for humans to really understand beach pollution. It is also considered to be an invisible threat to human health.

Many try to argue that beach pollution is quite possibly the only way to maintain a more sanitary living condition for the American society. The statement is partially true. Due to heavy amounts of human wastes, uncontrollable runoff, and industrial remittance of toxins is far too unbearable to find a central location to store and rid the waste. This results in dumping it in the most abundant and consistently moving area: the ocean. Oceans utilize their heavy currents to break down and transport wastes around the sea floor where small seafloor critters clean it up. Unfortunately, these small sea critters are having a tough time keeping up with the heavy demands of pollution being emitted to sea. Thus is compiles up and sits there till pathogens reach the surface where there is more sun thus becomes more abundant and energetic to infect a human host.

The effects of beach and marine pollution have been devastating to the oceans environment and ruining the marine animal’s habitat. It has affected many parts of the earth, for example, global warming, melting of the polar ice caps, and extinction of marine species.

Beaches that have been polluted should not be ignored and taken as a serious matter because there are many people who swim in the ocean and also animals that have a home and due to the pollution many animals have been suffering from it. Many people also live by the beach which causes the human environment to be polluted with adults and kids who want to enjoy a day at the beach but also leave there trash behind. Another cause of beach pollution is the raw sewage spills that run straight into the ocean. They should be more considerate because people do swim in the ocean, also would like to swim in an ocean with sanitary conditions. Affects of beach and marine pollution can be crucial and deadly. Our society should find a way to handle this because it can cause harm to humans causing asthma and we really should take care of the environment if we are living in it. The ocean is filled with disease causing bacteria that can really harm the many people who swim in the ocean. To prevent these catastrophes from occurring the NRDC and EPA advise all to be responsible on where to put their trash, encourage the government to allow spending on beach pollution sanitary conditions, and join beach clean-up crews. Overcoming beach pollution is a tough obstacle but with the power of all human and help from the government, beach coastlines should be able to be tolerable without becoming ill.


Sources: "Beach Pollution." Home. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1 Mar. 2012.<>

Corrected, Dean Kuipers | This Post Has Been. "EPA Beach Pollution Rules Allow 1 in 28 to Get Sick." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 01 Feb. 2012.

"Testing the Waters." NRDC: 2011. National Resources Defense Council, 9 Apr. 2012. Web.

“Testing the Waters”. Testing water events beach pollution natural recourse defense council, 13 August 2011.

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