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Cleaning Up Our Beaches

young beach cleanup volunteer on beach with yellow trash bag
Tons of trash are discarded directly onto or wash up on our beaches every year. This pollution is not only unsightly, but harmful to sea and coastal wildlife. This is a guide about cleaning up our beaches.
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April 17, 2007

Over 180 million Americans visit beaches each year to escape the sweltering summer heat. As global temperatures continue to rise, that number is bound to increase. Whether you cool off in the ocean or take a dip in your local swimming hole, assuming the water is clean and safe to swim in is no longer just another day at the beach. With increased pollution, storm-water run-off and sewage spills, beach advisories and beach closings are becoming more and more common. This is bad news for our waterways and bad news for the people who enjoy recreating in them-especially children and the elderly. Here are some ways to help keep your favorite beach (and yourself) safe from contaminants this summer.
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Protect Your Beach From Home

Pollution and disease-causing bacteria may end up at the beach, but protecting water quality starts at home. Even if you live dozens of miles from the nearest lake or hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, you still play a large role in the quality of the water there. Regardless of where you live, you live in a watershed - a specific land area that drains water into a river system or other body of water. And essentially, everyone lives downstream from someone else. Everything that runs down your drain, gets flushed down your toilet or ends up in your soil ultimately ends up in the water somewhere.

At Home:

At the Beach:

Steering Clear of Contamination

Just like you check the weather conditions, before you head out for a day at the beach, check to see if any advisories have been posted regarding water quality. If you're unsure whether or not the water is safe to swim in, follow these simple guidelines to reduce your risks:

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