We often think of the beach as a place to kick off the weekend . We picture it as a haven of fine sand and fresh ocean waves; but that’s far from the truth. Beach pollution is a serious issue- one that poses a risk to human health.
Most beach pollution is a result of our actions. Trash that isn’t properly managed, sewage overflow, plastic waste and oil spills are some of sources of beach pollution.
So how does this affect human health?
1.Ocean of diseases
All that pollution we don’t think twice about aids in the development of pathogens, making those who come in contact with the water very, very ill. One can develop skin, ear and respiratory infections from contaminated water. Want to stay disease free? Keep your beaches healthy!
2. Algal Bloom; Beach gloom
Our sewage run offs fuel harmful algal bloom. Why is this a problem? Algal bloom produces dangerous toxins in water and reduces the level of oxygen in the water- harming marine life and even humans who come in contact with the water.
Source: Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institution
3. A meal of fish and mercury
Our pollutants contain heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium. This is ingested by marine life, specifically fish that we consume. This leads to nasty mercury poisoning in us humans that have adverse effects on our health. Don’t want a side dish of mercury with your fish? It’s time to protect our beaches!
4. Long term problems
The short term effects are immediately noticed, but what about the long term effects that slowly creep up on us? Being in contact with polluted beaches and consuming contaminated marine life can lead to long term problems of the respiratory, reproductive, nervous systems and also cause hormonal problems and organ failure.
While a lot of the damage has already been done, there are measures we can take to reverse this:
1. Manage your waste
A very large portion of beach pollution comes from our own waste, particularly plastic waste. By simply remembering to dispose our waste in an environmental friendly manner, we’d be taking a big step towards saving our beaches.
2. Don’t feed the ocean
This doesn’t just mean don’t disrupt the diet of the marine life (but that’s important too!), but also don’t throw away any of your waste in the ocean. Most man made materials contain micro plastics and heavy metals that impact marine health and our health too.
Source: VVV Texel
3. Sustainable sea food
You don’t have to stop eating seafood entirely, but try to learn more about where your sea food is coming from and whether the practices are safe and not un-environmental and unethical!
4. Participate in clean-ups
Get inspo from #trashtag and participate in a clean-up! By just bringing around a few friends and taking out a few hours in your day, you can help keep your local beaches clean!
Source: NSW Australia
Don’t miss out on those fun filled beach afternoons- save our beaches!