California water pollution and solutions come in many forms


What are some of the first few things you think of when you think of California? Many often think of sunshine and beautiful beaches but as many California residents know the beach may no longer be the refreshing get away it once was. What is deterring so many from some of California’s most beloved beaches, and is it something you should be concerned about?

What is water pollution?

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council,  “Water pollution occurs when harmful substances—often chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans or the environment.”

Some of the most common water pollutants may include a variety of different things such as bacteria, parasites, phosphates, plastics, plastic waste and even chemical  substances. Some of the most commonly known pollutants are trash and oil most often left behind by humans. 

Many of us have fond memories of going to lakes, beaches, and even on cruises but rarely do we consider the true effects that our carbon footprint has on something as small as a pond or as vast as the ocean. We often forget that water pollution affects more than just the dolphines and the turtles, but also the water we drink, shower with, and grow our food in. 

According to, Children exposed to drinking water at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 were subjected to toxic chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene and vinyl chloride, which are known to cause birth defects and cancer.

How has pollution evolved in America over the last hundred years?

Biodiversity says in the last few decades there are now far more worms, insects and other small animals living in our rivers than there were in the 1990s, which is a general indication that water quality has improved. Coastal waters are also on the mend, with over 98% meeting minimum standards and over 70% achieving “Excellent” accreditation. according to Envirotech. says, “less than 1% of the Earth’s freshwater is actually accessible to us and it’s in our best interest to protect what we have, especially considering that by 2050, global demand for freshwater is expected to be one-third greater than it is now.”

According to Frontiers In Environmental Science, over 50 kinds of diseases are caused by low quality drinking water, aswell as 50%of child deaths around the world. Water pollution has also been known to cause diarrhea, skin diseases, malnutrition, and even cancer and other diseases.

What is being done to combat water pollution?

California Water Boards the State Water Board’s 2007 climate change resolution sets forth initial actions to respond to climate change and support the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). 

California Water Boards also says, “On September 25, 2012, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill (AB) 685, making California the first state in the nation to legislatively recognize the human right to water.” 

This year Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) developed a passing act called the Water Resources Development Act. Some of the priorities in this bill are authorized nearly $74 million for harbor deepening and maintenance by Long Beach Deep Draft Navigation Feasibility Study, Authorizes $215 million for flood control in Woodland northwest of Sacramento, expand water recycling and water storage from $3 million to more than $13 million, among a number of other things. Says the United States Senator for California Dianne Feinstein via,

What can we as individuals do to combat water pollution?

Some of the most simple ways we can help combat water pollution include picking up after ourselves and others, properly desposing of chemecals, reducing our plastic waste, and many others. Some helpful sites include Raleigh, Simsbury, AtlasScientific, Water Pollution, EPA, and many others can all give simple easy tips and ideas on how to combat water pollution.

In the last five years reversing water pollution has been a worldwide movement with brands like Kohler, PepsiCo, Starbucks, H&M, Burberry, Gap Inc, and others looking for change. Many Americans have veered away from single use plastics and opted for multi use items like reusable water bottles, bags, straws, and buying from sustainable food and clothing brands.

As Marcus Samuelsson said, “For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.” Therefore it is imperative that we continue to fight for clean water.

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