Summer means vacations and beaches for most of us. Before you stick your feet in the water, you might want to let point your browser at the Natural Resources Defense Council report on water quality at vacation beaches.
Before you hit the shore, do your research and check into the health and welfare of the water. The real truth is, there really isn’t a shoreline that doesn’t have a pollution problem of some sort. The most frequently identified pollution source is stormwater runoff. Discharge from wildlife and boats come in a very distant second followed by sewage spills and overflows.
What can we do to make our waterways cleaner and safer?
Since stormwater is the largest known pollutant, the best thing anyone can do is implement green infrastructure to retrain and filter rainwater to allow it to soak back into the ground. Rainwater that runs off yards eventually runs down streets and into drains. Things like rain gardens, tree boxes, green roofs, permeable pavement and rain barrels or cisterns can all help capture and retain water runoff. Increasing climate change is only going to make beachwater pollution worse. It can lead to increased storms and flooding, which in turn lead to more pollution in the water.
At the beach, even little steps add up to help solve big problems. There are a few things you can do to help reduce your impact to the shoreline:
- Use walkovers or designated paths instead of walking over sensitive dunes
- Reduce, reuse, recycle – take the pack it in, pack it out approach to things you bring to the beach
- Properly dispose of trash and pet waste (and be sure to clean up after your pooch!)
- Use public restrooms
- Pack an extra bag and pick up some trash on your way out
- Dispose of boat sewage in an onshore sanitary facility instead of dumping it into the water
- Don’t disturb plants and wildlife – this is their home
- Join a local water clean up group