Beach Pollution: The Plastic Dilemma

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Beach Pollution – The Plastic Dilemma
Beaches play an important part in the marine ecosystem. They are also an important source of leisure and a tourist attraction. However, an increased number of human activities and the usage of non-biodegradable materials and relentless garbage-formation is a major factor contributing towards marine pollution and the pollution on beaches. This pollution is caused by a number of natural and man-made factors. The natural factors include floods and tsunamis, while the man-made contributors to beach pollution are the biggest source of pollution. Excessive use and dumping of plastic is the biggest amongst these sources. The aquatic life suffers a great deal from ingestion of plastic as it doesn’t’t quite understand
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While the storms are part of the natural cycle of the ecosystem, they are the greatest hazard to the sandy-shore animals (Brown, A.C., and A. McLachlan). Other, more severe issues are the result of human activities. These incorporate the wet weather discharges, such as storm water, combined sewer and sanitation overflows, the discharges from recreational or commercial vessels, and the nutrients run-off from the agricultural activities. As a result of precipitation from rainfall or snow-melting, there is a huge discharge from the lines of combined sewers, and sanitary systems. The rainwater that washes away the chemicals, sediments, motor oil, antifreeze pollutants, and fertilizers ends up in the nearest beaches and causes a huge environmental risk. At the combined sewer plants, untreated domestic and industrial waste water overflows during a rainy season and ends up into the streams and beaches. Similarly, sanitary systems are affected by blockades, line breaks, sewer defects and leaks, inadequate design and vandalism, and lapses in maintenance to force the polluted water to make its way to the streams and beaches. The combined grease, chemicals, nutrients, mixture of raw sewage, industrial wastewater, harmful metals, and bacteria have resulted in the closing of several beaches, shellfish bed closing, and aesthetic and environmental problems (“Sources of Beach Pollution”). Moreover, the discharges from recreational and commercial vessels such as trash, fishing gear, ballast water, domestic waste, paints, and other chemicals are also a source of pollution for the beaches as an increased number of such vessels contributes towards the accumulation of waste and pollution from them. The direness of their impact on the beach ecosystem can be judged from the fact that regulations such Clean Boating Act, Clean Water Act, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Vessel General Permit (VGP), etc.

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