By Michael A. Mallin
- Rapid and poorly planned development is spoiling this beauty in a shocking way: a growing number of beaches and shellfish beds along the coast have been contaminated by disease-causing microorganisms coming from animal and human wastes
- According to a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2004 coastal states ordered 19,950 days of closures and pollution advisories affecting 1,234 ocean and freshwater beaches, or about one third of all the beaches regularly monitored by health officials
- Such illnesses are common in Third World countries with poor sanitation, but in the U.S. the problem stems from unwise growth, not poverty
- "Smart Growth" strategies can restore polluted coastlines and provide economic benefits as well
- Large areas that used to be forests or farmland are being turned into resorts, residential subdivisions, strip malls, restaurants, office complexes and industrial parks
- Sewage treatment plants remove harmful bacteria and other contaminants from their effluent, storm water runoff is usually untreated
- The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that this type of pollution is the leading remaining cause of water-quality problems in the U.S.
- Storm water runoff carries fertilizers, pesticides, heavy metals and petrochemicals, but it is the disease-causing microbes-the bacteria, viruses and protozoa derived from feces-that pose the principal threat to human health
- Microbial pollution also poses a serious danger to people involved in common recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, wading, diving, snorkeling, waterskiing and boating
- In recent years, several of these microbes have triggered severe disease outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada
- Health officials measure the concentrations of various indicator bacteria to assess the danger from waterborne pathogens, especially along beaches
- The suspended sediments and other particles cloud the receiving waters. (The degree of cloudiness is called turbidity.)
- Binding to soils protects bacteria from ultraviolet radiation that would normally kill the organisms
- The sediments lying at the bottom of shallow coastal waters are also a reservoir for fecal bacteria and other microbes
- Poorly designed sanitation systems in coastal regions can also contribute to microbial pollution
- Many municipalities are now tackling this problem by seperating their sewer and storm water systems
- Developers should take advantage of new technologies that can reduce the amount of storm water runoff and even treat it on site
- America's coasts can be a wonderful destination, both for vacation travel and for relocating homes and businesses
America's coasts have gone sour as they have now been contaminated by the disease-causing microbes that have continued to increase and are destroying the beaches & shellfish beds. According to recent reports by the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2004 coastal states ordered 19,950 days of closures and pollution advisories affecting 1,234 ocean and freshwater beaches, being monitored by health officials. So many issues are occurring within the waters creating much danger to our coast as they have become polluted by all this sewage in the waters. The question leaving health officials in a daze is how can they reduce microbial pollution which is hurting coastal states and communities. In 2004 Coastal Trends Report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted that 153 million Americans have allowed so much bad materials to go into the drainage and hurt as it goes into the storm drain. Although researchers have put in so much effort into figuring out the problems of the environmental damage that is being caused but figuring out any key points is what they are looking for.
In my opinion I believe that this is a very serious issue as this is affecting America's coasts as it is causing the pollution within our waters. Storm drain water is a problem as many of our fecal matters from our pets are being carelessly and with the unfiltered dirty water, all that waste will be filled in our coast creating so much environmental problems. I find it a personal issue as I may have contributed to this issue being a problem as I may have not picked up my own dog's poo which wouldn't help as it may lead to much waste within the oceans. I believe that the government needs to see that they are being hurt as well as many of our aquatic life which feeds millions around the world. We are all affected and we must put in an effort into trying prevent waste into the water is the first step for helping fight the problem.