Right when we are gearing up for Swim Guide’s first full summer at U.S. beaches, the Environmental Protection Agency announces it will eliminate a key government program that helped fund beach water quality monitoring at thousands of beaches across the country. The cutback would kick-in during 2013 and could mean an end to water quality monitoring and information sharing in dozens of states, affecting millions of Americans.
It gets worse for beach-lovers in the USA. The EPA cuts were announced just after new water quality standards were released for public comment.
These new water quality standards weaken protections for public health and the environment. As Steve Fleischli of NRDC says:
A new EPA proposal to address pollution at U.S. beaches allows 1 in 28 people to get sick when they go to the beach. Imagine a school field trip to the beach – for every large conventional school bus, nearly three kids would be put at risk of getting an illness like diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
Now imagine if a restaurant was allowed to serve food that would make 1 in 28 people sick. The public wouldn’t tolerate it. Yet EPA somehow is considering allowing 1 in 28 swimmers to get sick at the beach. It’s outrageous and a serious health risk that cannot and should not be ignored.
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