More than half of U.S. beaches contain potentially dangerous levels of feces, according to a new report that experts have described as “disturbing.”
Tests conducted at more than 3,000 beaches along the country’s coasts showed that 55 percent had potentially unsafe sewage in their waters at least once last year.
Experts say the polluted water sickens about one in 31 swimmers, who end up either swallowing the water laced with dangerous bacteria like E.coli or become infected afterwards colonizes their skin.
One in nine – or 363 – had beaches so dirty that they posed a risk to people’s health on at least 25 percent of the days of testing.
The southern states along the Gulf Coast ? including Florida, Texas and Louisiana ? were hardest hit, with 84 percent of their beaches having at least one day in 2022 when the water was polluted with feces.
The above map shows coastal counties in the US by the number of days that were unsafe for swimming due to potentially dangerous levels of bacteria in the water. It shows that Oregon had the highest percentage of areas with poor swimming conditions
The above divides the coastal areas of the US into regions. It reveals that the Gulf Coast was hardest hit, with 84 percent of beaches unsafe for swimming at least once last year, followed by the West Coast and the Great Lakes region
Excrement can be swept into the sea after storms, with rainwater causing drains and sewers to overflow and spill their contents. It can also be carried into the sea by rivers that pick up manure from industrial farms.
The data on the state of U.S. beaches was collected by Colorado-based environmental advocacy group Environment America for its annual “Safe to swim?” report.
It was based on figures from the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which monitors water quality on beaches across the United States.
A total of 3,192 beaches were included in the report. On average, states test the water on their beaches for sewage contamination about once a week.
The second most polluted beaches in the US were along the West Coast — in California, Oregon and Washington — where 70 percent of beaches were polluted at least once last year.
Beaches around the Great Lakes ? such as those in Wisconsin and Illinois ? were the third most polluted, with 63 percent having feces detected at least once last year.
Oregon had the most polluted beaches in the United States, and half of its counties?three of the six?had beaches that were too dirty to swim from six to 12 months of the year.
Environmental groups say agriculture in the state is responsible for the contamination. The EPA has been report found last year that 95 percent of the state’s lakes are now too polluted to be used as drinking water.
At the other end of the scale were Alaska and Hawaii, where 24 percent of beaches were unsafely polluted at least once a year.
John Rumpler, the clean water program director who spearheaded the report, told DailyMail.com: “What we CAN say is that several factors all mean that this beach pollution is likely to persist and perhaps get worse unless bold action is taken to stop it.” to deal with. ‘
The factors he pointed to were aging sewers, vast impermeable surfaces of urban areas, and climate change that made intense storms more likely.
he added Fox news“While the data doesn’t allow us to say whether beach pollution is worse now than in previous years, there are several worrying trends that increase the likelihood of beach pollution.”
In 2020, the group estimated that 53 percent of beaches had potentially unsafe levels of bacteria for swimming on at least one day. In 2019, it was 56 percent.
Last year there were an estimated 8,700 health warnings or beach closures due to pollution in their waters. There were also an estimated 57 million cases of illness caused by swimming in dirty water.
People swimming in water contaminated with sewage can ingest the waste ? and dangerous bacteria ? by swallowing the water or inhaling mists or aerosols at the surface of the water.
In the report, the experts included a chart on the quality of beach water in each state. Above are measures for Oregon (left) and Wisconsin (right) in 2022
The above shows water quality along beaches in New York last year, including New York City, and last year in Alaska
The bacteria can then begin to multiply rapidly inside the person, causing an infection and making them sick. In some cases, this is serious enough for hospitalization.
To minimize beach pollution, Environment America recommended investing more in systems to prevent or reduce runoff from urban areas.
This could include the construction of facilities such as permeable paving and the addition of more greenery and even ‘green roofs’ to neighbourhoods.
Sewers also need to be repaired and modernized, they said, to prevent them from overflowing and polluting waterways.
The experts also called for more work to protect wetlands, which can reduce pollution by absorbing floodwaters and filtering out pollutants.