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Next time you plan a trip to the beach, play it safe

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Fri, Nov 11. 2011

Editor: There is no doubt that our nearshore recreational marine waters and beach sand are national assets which must be cherished and used in a sustainable and safe manner. However, there are instances when improper use of such resources can have adverse human health impacts.{{more}} With this in mind, the populace is encouraged to play it safe on the beach.

It has been established by the research community that generally nearshore recreational marine waters are more contaminated at high tide than at low tide. Furthermore, the closer one is to the shoreline, the more contaminants can be found. Public Health Officials also confirm that contaminated marine recreational waters have been linked to infections of the ear, nose, throat and skin of bathers. Regardless of how one looks at this, contaminated marine recreational waters have economic, social and aesthetic implications for the populace.

In the absence or unavailability of evidence based data about marine recreational waters, it is important that users pay attention to two key factors: the time of day one should visit the beach and its location.

It is never a wise decision to enjoy the beach and associated water during or immediately after a prolonged or heavy rainfall event. This is the time when land -based sources of marine pollution can adversely affect bathing areas. Avoid as much as possible the high tide period when debris is more visible.

When selecting a good beach area, one must play attention to its location. Generally speaking, the environs of ports of entry or areas associated with marine vessels are not suitable for humans to use as bathing areas. Apart from personal injuries, waste from such vessels can have an adverse human health impact.

Therefore, the next time you plan a trip to the beach, play it safe by assessing the nature of the nearshore recreational marine waters and also the beach.

Neri James

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