Testing Our Nation’s Beaches

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council ranks the cleanest and dirtiest beaches in the U.S. Jessica Camille Aguirre gives an overview of the group’s findings and discovers a less than significant improvement in overall water quality.
June 28, 2012, 12pm PDT | Alesia Hsiao
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Before taking a dip in the ocean, do you consider the water quality or the number of health hazards you may be swimming in? Well, Natural Resources Defense Council offers up their report of beaches with waters you would want to dive right into and ones that you may want to steer clear of.

In its 22nd year, NDRC has rated the U.S. beaches based on their bacteria and pollution levels, potential health hazards and quality of beach monitoring. On the top of this year's 5-star list is Newport Beach and Bolsa Chica beaches in California, Hampton Beach in New Hampshire and Gulf Shores Public Beach in Alabama. "In findings that echo rankings released in the last few years, Avalon and Doheny beaches in California and several beaches in Louisiana were among the worst - again," states Aguirre.

"The rate at which beach samples are worse than the recreational national standards is static," NRDC's Jon Devine said in a briefing about the findings. "Unfortunately, what we think that indicates is a real need for policy shifts to move those numbers."

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Published on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in NPR
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