The Issue: Pollution at Local Beaches
“Up to 3.5 million people become ill from contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows each year,” according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. When water containing bacteria and viruses spills into the oceans it can cause health issues that range from rashes and pinkeye to meningitis and hepatitis. Although the federal BEACH Act grant program helps test many beaches and close those that are overly polluted, there are still large gaps in the data—untested areas that rely on local volunteers to assess their safety.
The Campaign: Testing Water Quality at Beaches
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used to perform water-quality tests at local beaches and help advocate for solutions to keep that water clean. Every $10 raised will support Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force, which includes more than 30 volunteer-run chapters in the US. These volunteers test the water quality along the Atlantic, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Coasts, including the tropical waters of Puerto Rico and Hawaii, to measure bacteria levels, compare them to the EPA federal quality standards, and inform the public of waters deemed unsafe.
The Surfrider Foundation was born when personal passion overlapped a glaring need. In 1984, three surfers faced the prospect of losing their favorite wave to coastal development and the subsequent environmental impact. Instead of lying down in the sand, they stood up and fought to keep this California beach 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 their 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.