A beach is the sandy, pebbly, or rocky shore of a body of water. Beach types vary widely, especially depending on where they are. When most of us think of a beach, we picture wide open sandy ocean beaches with waves crashing, wind blowing, seagulls flying overhead, and a backdrop of beach grass and sand dunes. A beach is also a sensitive environment that supports a variety of plants and animals.
Beaches provide unique habitats for a variety of plants and animals.It also provides protection to residents living near the ocean by acting as a buffer against the high winds and waves of powerful storms, and help drive economic activity important to nearby communities.
However, pollution at the beach can result in swimmers getting sick or temporary beach closures that negatively affect the local economy. In addition, overuse by visitors can damage sensitive habitats, such as beach dunes, and create marine debris. The good news is that we can all help protect our beaches and our health.
It provides many recreational opportunities for millions of people. Boating, fishing, swimming, walking, beachcombing, bird-watching, playing and sunbathing are among the common activities beachgoers enjoy. And also provides protection to residents living near the ocean by acting as a buffer against the high winds and waves of powerful storms or rough seas.
Trash and other solid material that reach rivers, bays, estuaries and oceans eventually wash up on our beaches. It includes plastic bags, bottles and cans, cigarette filters, bottle caps, and lids. Any trash not recycled or properly thrown away can eventually reach our beaches when it is carried by the rain into sewers, storm drains, or inland rivers and streams, and then can flow all the way to the ocean. Other sources include people at the beach leaving behind their trash, and fishermen losing or discarding fishing nets and lines in the ocean.
When rain water or snowmelt flows over land or impervious surfaces like paved streets, parking lots, and building roof-tops, it picks up trash, chemicals, sediment, and other pollutants such as gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides and pet waste. This polluted water flows directly into storm drains, rivers, lakes, streams and the ocean.
Sanitary sewer overflows have a variety of causes, including but not limited to blockages, line breaks, sewer defects that allow storm water and groundwater to overload the system, lapses in sewer system operation and maintenance, power failures, inadequate sewer design and vandalism.
Some sewers are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe, and are known as combined sewers. Most of the time, combined sewer systems transport all of their wastewater to a sewage treatment plant, where it is treated and then discharged to a water body. During periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, however, the wastewater volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant. For this reason, combined sewer systems are designed to overflow occasionally and discharge excess wastewater directly to nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies.
Incidental discharges from all kinds of vessels are a source of pollution that can affect our beaches. Such discharges include trash, fishing gear, ballast water, and water from sinks and showers.
Spread the word
Reduce your use of single-use plastics
Participate in a Beach or River cleanup
Avoid products containing microbeads
Support organizations addressing plastic pollution
There is so much pollution in our oceans that sometimes it does not feel like we can make a difference.We can make a difference even if it is only a little.Creating awareness is so important, if everybody do their share, we could make a big difference.
Be encouraged to get involved with your local beaches and find out what you can do to make a difference.If you really are interested in making a difference, there are many things that you can do.