The Issue: Bacterial Pollution at Local Beaches
According to the National Resources Defense Council, there were more than 24,000 beach closings and advisories in the United States in 2010, indicating high levels of bacterial pollution that exceed health and safety standards. Despite the risks involved with urban runoff and oil spills, the Environmental Protection Agency cut its $9.9 million beach-grant program to fund water-safety inspections, citing the “difficult financial climate.” Without beach monitoring, swimmers and surfers cannot determine when or where it is safe to swim, putting their health at risk and impacting tourist-based economies.
The Campaign: Water-Quality Tests for Local Beaches
If this Grassroots campaign raises $210, then the Surfrider Foundation can perform 30 water-quality tests at local beaches to inform visitors about water safety and levels of bacterial pollution. Surfrider activist volunteers conduct these tests by mixing ocean water with a special reagent, incubating it, and examining it under black light. Each additional $7 raised will fund another water-quality test.
To celebrate the launch of Groupon Grassroots, Groupon will provide a $1,000 kickoff grant to this campaign.
A trio of surfers started the Surfrider Foundation to protect their favorite beach at First Point. More than a quarter century later, they continue to campaign and advocate for the protection of the world’s oceans and beaches through an activist network that has grown to 250,000 people. To fulfill this mission, the foundation conducts four educational programs, including the Know Your H2O conservation program, the Rise Above Plastics pollution program, and the Blue Water Task Force.
The Blue Water Task Force travels to local beaches and collects samples of water for testing. Positive samples determine water-contamination levels and inform people whether the water is safe. The Surfrider Foundation conducts these tests and other programs in 15 countries around the world, and advocates for national laws to maintain funding for water-monitoring programs, such as the Beach Act of 2000.