The statistics show that Southern California has improved in 2015-2016 the quality of its local beaches. On the other hand, water quality proved to be very concerning, especially in places such as Santa Monica Beach.
However, a vast majority of beach in Ventura, Orange and Lost Angeles counties has remained excellent, according to the 26th annual Beach Report Card of Heal the Bay. From 2015 until 2016, 88 beaches were assigned A-to-F letter grades by Heal the Bay analysts.
These grades were based on levels of weekly bacterial pollution. They established that 92 percent of beaches received A or B grades for the high-traffic during the summer period. Even if these numbers are encouraging, L.A is the top county with the highest number of beaches with poor water quality. Last year’s reports showed that one in nine monitored beaches received C grades or lower during summer.
According to Leslie Griffin, co-author of the report and Heal the Bay’s chief water quality scientist, just one day at the beach is usually not that dangerous as long as you swim at an open-ocean beach away from piers, creek mouths, and storm drains.
Nevertheless, if you swim at a beach that has grade C or lower water quality, you risk getting in contact with rashes, upper respiratory infections, ear infections and stomach flu. According to a UCLA study, more than $21 million are spent each year in Orange and L.A. counties for public health gastrointestinal illnesses caused by swimming in polluted waters.
Furthermore, 40 percent of beaches received an F grade during wet weather. It is a very critical situation because the beaches are often visited by many ocean-users, such as divers, paddleboarders, and surfers.
Plus, L.A has 3 out of 10 beaches listed on Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Bummer List, which establishes the state’s most polluted beaches, based on levels of harmful bacteria, such as fecal bacteria.
Many remediation projects tried to fix the situation of the Santa Monica Pier beach. However, it still came No.5 on the Bummer List. Officials hope that with the help of the new wet-weather storm drain diversion project, the water quality will significantly improve.
Plus, Heal the Bay is decided to make the water of Santa Monica Bay safer for marine life and people. Hopefully, everyone’s efforts will pay off.