The Issue: Pollution at Local Beaches
There were more than 20,000 beach closings and advisories issued nationally in 2012, according to records from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Although many beach goers don’t give closings a second thought, the potential for harm is real. Unsafe ocean water contains bacteria and viruses that can cause health issues ranging from rashes and pinkeye to meningitis and hepatitis. Unfortunately, the federal Beach Act grant program faces severe budgetary cutbacks in the fiscal year 2015, which may completely eliminate basic water testing. Without beach monitoring, swimmers and surfers cannot determine when or where it's safe to swim, putting their health at risk and impacting tourist-based economies.
The Campaign: Administering Water-Quality Tests at Beaches
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by the Surfrider Foundation to purchase and perform water-quality tests at local beaches. For every $13 raised, the organization can administer one water-quality test. Positive samples determine water-contamination levels and inform people whether the water is safe.
The Surfrider Foundation was born out of personal passion overlapping a glaring need. In 1984, three surfers faced the prospect of losing their favorite wave. Instead of lying down in the sand, they stood up and fought to keep this perfect California wave intact. Today, that impassioned spirit pervades the entire Surfrider organization, which has since grown to include 90 chapters, 28 labs, and a network of more than 250,000 activists in 18 countries around the world. At each outpost, volunteers work with local environmental policy makers and community leaders to protect the beaches and waves from pollution. Their programs range from water testing, to protecting beach access, to eliminating plastics from the marine environment, to advocating for national laws such as the Beach Act of 2000—all to preserve the oceans and beaches for future generations.