While you may be trying to escape the heat by going to the beach, you may want to reconsider. A new study has found that 2,627 out of 4,523 beaches were found to have unsafe pollution levels.
The Clean Water Act set standards to ensure that water was safe for swimming. It regulates the number of pollutant discharges into waters around the United States.
However, due to the increased water temperature, beach pollution is getting considerably worse.
Why Does Warmer Water Matter
In reality, there are bacteria at every beach. Though, it is normally not enough to pose a health risk to swimmers. However, bacteria grows at a faster rate under warmer conditions.
Thus, as the water temperature increases from climate change, the rate at which bacteria grows accelerates.
Where Does the Bacteria Come From
This alone might make you never want to go to the beach again, but the bacteria comes from…fecal contamination.
The report lists urban runoff, sewage pollution, and manure pollution as the main causes of the bacteria in the water.
According to the report, gastrointestinal illness, respiratory disease, ear
and eye infections and skin rash are all possible from this type of bacteria.
Usually, bacteria dissipates quickly, which means there needs to be a significant build-up to actually get someone sick.
Better Water Infrastructure Needed
The main problem is our infrastructure does not do enough to protect the beaches. As the temperatures continue to rise, beach pollution will become a much more serious problem.
Bacteria will find it easier to thrive, and the regulations from 40 years ago will be inadequate for current climate conditions.
However, waterborne illnesses are not a new occurrence.
According to a report from last year, 90 million cases around the world are directly linked to waterborne bacteria.
This has cost the world billions of dollars. Only by improving the infrastructure to keep waste out of the ocean can this number be reduced.