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Title Page
Arctic Pollution Problems
The Aquatic Biome
Pollution case studies and preventions
Links and Pictures
Pollution affects, and Legislative actions

Pollution FAQ'S

What is acid rain?
A: "Acid rain" is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere.Acid rain has two parts wet and dry.

  • harming fish and other organisms living in lakes and streams
  • harming to a variety of plants and animals on land
  • damaging human health

What are the major causes of beach pollution?

  • "The most frequently identified pollution sources are dirty runoff and stormwater, which led to more than 2,616 closing and advisory days in 2003, and sewage spills and overflows, which accounted for more than 1,820 closings and advisories in 2003."


  • "Rain is often a contributing factor to beachwater pollution. Heavy rain can overwhelm sewage systems, forcing rainwater and raw sewage directly into coastal waters, bypassing treatment plants. And as rainwater washes over land, it picks up pollutants and boosts the overall volume of stormwater and polluted runoff that reaches coastal areas."


  • "Nearly every coastal and Great Lakes state reported having at least one beach where stormwater was a known source of pollution. California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and New York had the most beaches with stormwater pollution sources. California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York have the most beaches with known sewage pollution sources."


  • "But in many cases, communities simply haven't tracked down the sources of beachwater pollution. The vast majority of closing and advisory days in 2003 (88 percent) were issued because monitoring revealed the presence of bacteria associated with fecal contamination. But officials often could not identify the source of this contamination. Local and state agencies should step up efforts to investigate such pollution."

Can swimming in polluted water make you sick? What's the evidence?
  • "The answer is yes." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming in polluted waters is the most common cause of waterborne illnesses. The most common illness is gastroenteritis, which usually involves diarrhea or vomiting, or both."


  • "In 1996, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project in California monitored 15,492 beachgoers who bathed and immersed their heads in Santa Monica Bay. The study found an increased risk of illness, including such symptoms as fever, chills, ear discharge, diarrhea, nausea and respiratory illnesses for swimmers bathing near storm drains. Beachgoers swimming near storm drains had a 57 percent greater incidence of fever than those swimming farther away."


  • "Although swimming-related illnesses usually are not severe or life-threatening, they can cause significant discomfort and keep people out of work or school for days. The risks are greater for young children, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems, such as cancer patients. Too often people are exposed to these risks unwittingly due to deficiencies in local monitoring."

What can be done to make swimming at our beaches safer?
- Adopt strong technology standards to control stormwater pollution from construction and development
- Enforce the current prohibition on discharges of raw or inadequately treated sewage from "sanitary sewer systems"
- Adopt water quality criteria for the full range of pathogens in sewage, including viruses and parasites.
-Need to uniform national standards governing beachwater monitoring and public notification