10 things beach resorts won’t tell you
Enjoy the sun, sand, sea breezes and the sewage runoff
Written by Charles Passy
It has been a brutally hot summer in much of the country, with even Alaska hitting record-breaking temperatures in the 90s. That has many Americans seeking the cool comfort of the 7,000-plus coastal and Great Lakes public beaches, since we indeed love our shores: In 2012, beachgoers recorded a total of 275 million-plus visits for the sixth consecutive year, according to the United States Lifesaving Association. Americans don’t love the fact that many beaches are shut down each summer, some of them more than once, due to sewage runoff and water-quality issues. In eight out of the last nine years, 20,000-plus beach closings and advisories have been reported throughout the United States, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group. And 80% of the closings are due to the fact that “bacteria levels in beach water exceeded public-health standards, indicating the potential presence of human or animal waste in the water,” says NRDC.
The pollution problem isn’t limited to the water. There is plenty of garbage on the sand. In 2012, volunteers with the Ocean Conservancy, a Washington, D.C.-based beach advocacy group, collected more than 10 million pounds of trash strewn across nearly 18,000 miles of shoreline throughout the world (the United States had the largest cleanup effort). The items picked up ranged from the everyday (2.1 million cigarettes, 1.06 million water and other beverage bottles) to the unexpected (236 toothbrushes, 117 mattresses).
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