SAN FRANCISCO—It has been a record year of improvement for Bay Area beaches, according to the Beach Report Card Survey conducted by Heal the Bay.
Heal the Bay is a Santa Monica based environmental non-profit organization dedicated to the health and safety of California’s coasts. The organization’s Beach Report Card was first published in 1990; it is a comprehensive analysis of water quality throughout California coastlines based on the monitoring of beaches. Each week, over 450 beaches are graded A to F based on bacteria analysis that indicate pollution from numerous sources. The primary reason for such significant sanitation improvement has been attributed to California’s record-low rainfall, which has occurred in a statewide drought.
Water quality scientist, James Alamillo, led the report and found that due to warmer temperatures and drier climates, oceans have been less polluted due to the significantly reduced inflow of untreated contaminated water from storm drain runoffs. Statewide efforts to conserve water by limiting the time spent watering lawns and washing cars have also contributed to the reduction of surface-level toxic motor oils flowing into the oceans.
After evaluating 67 popular beaches in the Bay Area, 59 received an “A” grade. Higher grades, have indicated a lower risk of potential illnesses to people who recreationally go to the beach. Polluted oceans have also shown a statistical correlation of negatively affecting economic circumstances in neighboring beach cities.
The main focus of the grading scale continues to be the aspect of health and safety, due to the fact that most common symptoms and contracted diseases associated with ocean pollution are skin rashes, ear infections, stomach flus, and upper respiratory infections.