5 Fixes for a Better Beach Trip

From dog poo management, to safer ways to fend off the sun, these good choices can protect you and the oceans we depend on.

By Leah Zerbe


Another good reason to stay off the beach after a heavy storm is toxic runoff.2. Chemical exposure
If you need another good reason to stay out of the water after a heavy storm, consider all the pollutants found in stormwater, including trash, motor oil, and pesticides. Pollution from stormwater was the most common cause of pollution-related beach closings and health advisory days in 2007. As global warming creates stronger storms featuring more torrential downpours, the problem will likely get worse.

What to do:
Again, check with county health officials regarding past water-quality test results, and if you’re blessed with a flexible schedule, try not to visit during or after a stormy week that could send lots of contaminants into the water. At home, do your part. Never pour motor oil down the drain or onto the ground—a single quart can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. Instead, check for local programs that will recycle it. Instead of dumping or trashing paint, harsh cleaners, or other hazardous household chemicals down the drain, take them to a local hazardous-waste collection day. And remember, you can clean almost anything with a nontoxic (and cheap) solution of white vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle.