Image via NRDC
For those planning to visit beaches along the gulf coast during their summer vacation, NRDC's newest map will be a must-view resource. It shows all the beach closings caused by the Gulf oil spill. Updated on a regular basis, this map is quickly filling up with little tags showing which beaches are off limits if you want to avoid the health impacts caused by oil on our shores. The NRDC map is a helpful tool, and the organization has been providing beach-goers with maps of which beaches are the safest to visit for twenty years. On July 28th, the newest Testing the Waters report will be released, providing information about the quality of beach water nation-wide. Last year's report showed a 10% drop in the number of beach closings and advisory days, but this year's report is sure to have a change in that number thanks to BP's disasterous mess-up, as it features a new section comparing oil-related closings in the Gulf to closings last summer.
David Beckman, the Director of NRDC's Water Program, writes, "[Testing the Waters] first drew attention to the lack of information available to the public on beach water quality--and the presence all too often of pathogens in bathing waters. TTW has subsequently been instrumental in helping to motivate a massive increase in beach water quality testing across the U.S.; it also played a major role in amendments to the Clean Water Act (commonly referred to as "the Beach Act") that also improved and standardized monitoring. It's a report that identified a problem and led to major progress to solve that problem. And it continues to be a barometer of how clean our beaches are in the U.S."
Regular updates to the map are planned as the disaster continues, pulling information from government websites as well as phone calls and emails with government officials. NRDC provides information on what you should do if you discover oil on a beach you're visiting. And if you do find oil or wildlife harmed by the spill, you can use Map The Spill app on your cell phone to report it.
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