Running Head: COASTAL POLLUTION 1 California’s Coastal Pollution Christopher Ruper Argosy University
COASTAL POLLUTION 2 AbstractCalifornia’s coastline has been polluted by sources that have had a negative effect on itsecosystems. To understand this problem one must know the types of pollution California’scoastlines are faced with, their effects on the coastline, and the benefits of pollution.
COASTAL POLLUTION 3 California’s Coastal Pollution Introduction California’s coastline is known for its warm weather, warm waters, and beautifulbeaches. Many beach goers do not know the truth behind pollution and its effects on the coastalecosystems or on human health. A report was taken on the pollution on California’s coastline,“The report notes that contamination can make beachgoers sick,” (Brennan, 2009). The effects ofsuch pollution can cause more harm than just damages to the ecosystem and sickness, “TheEnvironmental Protection Agency has announced nearly $10 million in grants to assist coastalstates and territories in monitoring for pathogens in recreational waters,” (E.P.A., 2005).California should do its best to protect its beaches and people that attend them. Beach pollutionis detrimental to the Californian coastline. Types of pollution Pollution on California’s coastline can come from various locations. Each cause ofpollution has its own negative effects on the coastal ecosystems and on the health of livingorganisms. Some are caused by lack of consideration of human health and others are simply poorforesight on the parts of engineers when constructing places for water to travel. Some pollutionissues have been left untouched and others have become of great concern to people who try toprotect the Californian coastline. The major causes of pollution on the Californian coastline arepollution runoff, pollution from beach attendants, pollution from cargo, and air pollution. Beach pollution runoff is the running off of water from cities into the ocean. These citiescan be right on the coast or miles away. Some storm drains and canals force the water runoff
COASTAL POLLUTION 4from city gutters right into the ocean without proper treatment. “Nearly 70% of the variability inthe coliform record can be attributed to seasonal and interannual variability in local rainfall,implying that storm water runoff from the surrounding watershed is a primary source of coliformin Newport Bay,” (Pednekar, 2005). During the construction of these drains not much foresightwas done on the effects these grains would have on California’s coastline. These drains cancontain massive amounts of bacteria during high water flow periods; usually, but not limited to,rainy seasons. “By quantification of a human-specific Bacteroides marker (HBM), human wastewas evidenced throughout both transects, and concentrations were highest in the discharges ofseveral flowing storm drains,” (Sercu, 2009). Pollution from beach attendants is another way that pollution can find its way to thecoast. One very evident type of pollution is bottles water, “some 26 billion bottles of water weresold in the U.S. in 2005, making us the world leader in consumption of bottled water,” (Wright,2009). Astoundingly, “only one in six of plastic water bottles were recycled in 2004, and the restended up in landfills or combustion facilities,” (Wright, 2009). It is no surprise that, “the numberone new form of litter along our highways and on beaches is the discarded plastic water bottle,”(Wright, 2009). Coastal visitors and other attendants can, either by accident or purpose, discardplastic onto the beaches or into the water. “They live along a coast with the dubious distinctionof having 7 of the states 10 most polluted beaches, according to the latest report card from theenvironmental group Heal the Bay, which has given beaches like Surfrider a failing grade yearafter year,” (Navarro, 2007). These ratings tend to be based more on the pollution found on thebeach and only a little emphasis is put on the pollution in the water. These ratings show that themassive amounts of pollution is the cause of the failing beach grades; which has been happeningfor many years.
COASTAL POLLUTION 5 Cargo ships are another cause of pollution on California beaches. Ports in California havebeen engineered for the imports and exports of large quantities of goods. Large cargo ships arethe cause of massive amounts of pollution as well. “The company based in Hong Kong thatoperates the cargo ship that caused a 2007 oil spill in San Francisco Bay pleaded guilty tocriminal charges. The ship, the Cosco Busan, sideswiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridgeon Nov. 7, 2007,” (Associated Press, 2009). Oil pollution is hard to clean up and costs lots ofmoney. It is also important to contain oils spills as they can easily move to the open coastlinefrom shipping harbors; if they happen inside the harbor. The shipping harbors should not be toocrowded as it increases the chances of collisions such as the Cosco Busan. Concerns have beentaken to large ships and discharges off the coastline in California. “This will establish the largestcoastal No Discharge Zone in the United States and is expected to eliminate millions of gallonsof sewage that large ships discharge every year into local waters,” (E.P.A., 2010). The dischargezone is for both cargo ships as well as cruise liners. Finally, air pollution is another form of pollution on California’s coastline. This is mainlyfrom the diesel engines of trucks and large ships, but all fossil fueled vehicles and factories cancontribute to this type of pollution. “Ships in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports alreadyproduce nearly as much smog as Southern Californias 350 largest industrial polluterscombined,” (Welch, 2004). The gasses released into the air have created smog clouds; one suchcloud can be found lingering over Los Angeles County. These pollution clouds may even beblown inland from the coast to the cities located off the coast. Environmental Effects
COASTAL POLLUTION 6 The effects of runoff are very detrimental to health and the environment. In one casetreatment of the situation caused an ecosystem to lose water and almost dry up, “Over the courseof the study the marsh received progressively less dry weather surface water runoff from thesurrounding urban landscape due to the implementation of a runoff interception and treatmentprogram,” (Youngsul, 2008). The bacteria from runoff can be almost worse than actual trash,“As many as 1.5 million people are sickened by bacterial pollution on Southern Californiabeaches each year, resulting in millions of dollars in public health care costs, a new study hasfound,” (Associated Press, 2006). With the end of the drainage leading right into the coast thepollution can spread along the coast to the north or south. This creates an even bigger ecologicalproblem as all animals would be affected from the bacteria. Beach pollution from visitors can cause harm to local wildlife, mainly birds that try tofeed on the garbage; they tend to be less selective about their consumption. Ocean dwellingcreatures can also get sick from eating plastics and other pollutants. Plastic has been an enemy ofcoastal wildlife for many years. Plastic is not biodegradable and may even cause animals to getentangled in it; this will result in functioning problems. If trash makes its way to the ocean thanocean animals can also feed on it, making them sick; this will have negative effects on the wholefood chain. Larger animals that feed on smaller sick ones will contract illnesses or bemalnourished from eating malnourished meals. “But there are those who persist in braving thewater, never mind the historic counts of bacteria from fecal matter and other sources that cancause skin rashes, ear infections and gastrointestinal ailments, or the signs that spell out thedangers with warnings like contact with ocean water at this location may increase risk ofillness’, (Navarro, 2007). The risk to the wildlife is coupled with the pollution’s effects onhumans. There are many ailments one can receive from the coastal waters of California.
COASTAL POLLUTION 7 Pollution from cargo can be very disastrous to wildlife. In regards to the ship from HongKong that ran into another ship, “The ship spilled 53,000 gallons of oil into the water, killingthousands of birds and other wildlife and fouling miles of shoreline,” (Associated Press, 2009).This is not fair to the living organisms that reside in this ecosystem. There are also manyprotected habitats in the area of this incident. The money that had to be spent for the cleanup wasastronomical. The “No Discharge Zone” was much needed for the health of all living organismson the California coastline. The sewage discharged from the large ships had contributed toomany harmful chemicals being introduced to coastal ecosystems. Air pollution also contributes to the effects of pollution. It can ruin a sunny day forrecreational beach goers and even cause cancer to people exposed to it. “An estimated one inevery 1,000 residents who has lived in nearby neighborhoods since birth may contract cancerfrom the bad air, one study shows,” (Welch, 2004). For local communities that rely heavily onbeach goers for income, having them go to other beaches can affect their business. People wouldrather go to beaches with less pollution to vacation and air pollution is not very inviting tovacationers. These pollution clouds also prevent proper sunlight from reaching plants and otherorganisms that need sunlight to function properly. The clouds also contain harmful chemicalssuch as CO2 and can be dangerous when in hailed. Acid rain is another effect of air pollution. Itcan burn skin and cause harmful effects to living organisms. Acid rain when flushed into a stormdrain will also end up in the ocean even if it does not rain over the sea. Benefits of pollution Although not worth the pollution, pollution has had a benefit in California over the years.The process of cleaning up pollution provides jobs for the state’s residents. Whether the cleanup
COASTAL POLLUTION 8is in the water or on land many cleanup hours are needed along its coastlines to help restore thecoastline to a satisfactory level. “The Environmental Protection Agency has announced nearly$10 million in grants to assist coastal states and territories in monitoring for pathogens inrecreational waters,” (E.P.A., 2005). With unemployment being at an all time high, providingjobs for people is invaluable to California’s population. Conclusion The coastal waters of California provide a livelihood for many living organisms, not excluding humans. Many protected and endangered species of organisms have made their homes on the coastlines of California. Pollution’s effects can be seen at all levels of the food chain. Small fish get diseases which in turn affects the larger predators. Human health is also at risk when it comes to this type of pollution; humans eat many things that are found on land and in the sea from high polluted coastal areas. Since humans regularly use beaches as a place of recreation and food they can contract many illnesses that reside in this location. Possible solutions to prevent pollution on beaches have been sought after by many activists but the costs are great for cleaning up pollution and even greater for pollution found in the water. The runoff from city pipelines should be treated to prevent disease from entering the open ocean; but ample water flow is important for the habitats that rely on it. Cargo regulations have been made but the shipment industry continues to grow every year, increasing the chances for pollution. More restrictions need to be placed on the shipment industry. Stricter punishments for polluters may help deter humans from polluting the coastlines. Prevention is the most effective way to get and keep California’s coastline pollution at a minimal. The costs of prevention are far cheaper than the costs of cleaning up
COASTAL POLLUTION 9 pollution. In some cases cleaning up pollution is not an option; the damage has already been done. California beaches are well known though out the world and lots of people come from all over to enjoy them. Many species of organisms reside in coastal habitat and rely on healthy ecosystems for survival. Humans need to maintain these habitats by not destroying them with pollution. Pollution is a problem in California and it should be handled before too much harm has been done. Future generations of humans and wildlife deserve to experience a healthy coastline with far less pollution.
COASTAL POLLUTION 10 ReferencesAssociated Press (2006). Report: dirty Southern California beaches sicken thousands. Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,204556,00.htmlAssociated Press (2009). California: deal in bay oil spill. New York Times, 8(9), 11. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite.Brennan, P. (2009). O.C. features most 5-star beaches in U.S., report says: but Doheny State Beach remains among the most contaminated in California. Orange County Register, 8(9), 5-6. Retrieved from ProQuest Newsstand. doi: 1810462141.Chapman University (2010). Peroxides; Reports from Chapman University add new data to research in peroxides. 5(21), 442. Retrieved from ProQuest (Document ID: 2031374631).Environmental Protection Agency (2005). Federal dollars help states improve the nations beaches. Professional Safety, 50(7), 17-18. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 862988631).Navarro, M. (2007). Surfs up, but the water is brown. New York Times, 20(6), 14-17. Retrieved from Banking Information Source. (Document ID: 1281300621).Pednekar, A. (2005). Influence of climate change, tidal mixing, and watershed urbanization on historical water quality in Newport Bay, a saltwater wetland and tidal embayment in southern California. Environmental Science & Technology, 39(23), 9071-9082.Sercu, B. (2009). Storm drains are sources of human fecal pollution during dry weather in three urban southern California watersheds. Environmental Science & Technology, 43 (2), 293- 298.Welch, C. (2004). Big ships, big pollution, little action: Lax rules govern an industry. The Seattle Times, 11(21), 17-19. Retrieved from SIRS Researcher.
COASTAL POLLUTION 11Wright, R.T. (2009). Environmental Science, 10, 478-479. Retrieved from (Online) URL http://www.argosy.edu Module 6.Youngsul, J. (2008). Treatment of dry weather urban runoff in tidal saltwater marshes: A longitudinal study of the talbert marsh in southern California. Environmental Science & Technology, 42(19), 3609-3614.