Econ-Atrocity: Beach Bummer

Heading for the beach this summer? Take your water-quality-testing kit. A new report from the National Resources Defense Council shows a 50% increase in pollution-related beach closings and advisories from 1997 to 1999. The report explains that few states have comprehensively monitored water quality in the past. Those that have begun doing so, like California, are often finding unacceptably high bacteria counts.

Four states qualified as “beach bums” because of limited or zero monitoring and public notification efforts: Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

For more information, including ratings for beaches you might know and love, check out the National Resources Defense Council web site at


Barbara Whitaker, “U.S. Beach Closings Soar With Focus on Pollution,” New York Times, 8/4/000

National Resources Defense Council, “Testing the Waters, 2000.”