Beach Blanket Benzene
The world’s beaches are covered in filth.
Not to sound alarmist – or heaven forbid, put someone off their well-deserved beach holiday – but reports from around the globe (or glob) show that beaches everywhere are in an increasingly dire state. We’ve already found out that our oceans are facing ‘catastrophic’ conditions, but that shouldn’t spoil a bit of fun, sun, surf and sand, should it?
Problem is, many of those beaches we associate with a nice day out in Mother Nature’s splendor are awash with chemicals and human waste (shit).
Look what the LA Times has to say about the beloved Avalon Harbor beach on California’s Catalina Island:
Even though the city of 4,000 has spent $3.5 million testing and rehabilitating sewer lines, the water is no cleaner. A report last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council listed Avalon as one of the 10 most chronically polluted beaches in the nation for failing state health tests as much as 73% of the time.
Californians are risking a staph infection, stomach illness and rashes because the ocean is pretty much used as a sewer.
Beach blanket bingo anyone? Thought not.
Well at least California still has beaches. According to a report in the Observer, the beaches near Rome, Italy are disappearing due to development and erosion linked to climate change:
Francesco Lalli, a senior researcher at Italy’s environmental research centre, Ispra, said Italy’s beaches lost five million cubic metres of sand between 1950 and 2000.
The rest of the world’s beaches aren’t any better.
Goa’s beaches, India’s most popular among tourists, have been declared by scientists to be unfit for swimming and fishing. Sorry, dreadlocked Euro backpackers, there’ll be no cooling off in the sea after an all night rave this year – unless you fancy risking sepsis.
And if this editorial on the state of Ghana’s beaches is anything to go by, African tourist shores face similar problems of pollution and filth.
But take heart, as the good people of the British island of Guernsey are doing by cleaning up plastic waste from their beaches with their Coastal Cleanup Campaign.
So get stuck in and keep a stiff upper lip, but if you don’t want it infected with staph, you might want to stay out of the water this summer.