Blog Assignment 4
The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act is an environmental policy in the United states that is designed to reduce the risk of disease to users of the nation’s coastal recreation waters. The act authorizes the EPA to award program development and implementation grants to eligible states, territories, tribes, and local governments to support microbiological testing and monitoring of coastal recreational waters. The waters the program works with includes coastal recreational waters, the Great lakes and waters adjacent to beaches or similar points used by the public. The purpose of the BEACH Act is to provide support for developing programs to notify the public of the potential exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in the waters. The act also requires an online system that the program must provide information to the public with; information on pollution occurrences for the waters and state reported beach monitoring data (EPA BEACH Act). I believe the online system is very helpful for informing the residents on when it is unsafe to use or enter the water in their area.
According to EPA’s BEACH Report of Hawaii 2010 Swimming Season, close to all of Hawaii’s coastal waters are considered “beaches” including cliffs, rocky shorelines, or sandy stretches of coastline. So a majority of Hawaii’s coastal waters are monitored through programs that focus on frequency of sampling. But recent budget cuts to the Hawaii Department of Health have drastically affected the monitoring of Oahu Hawaii beaches in particular. The monitoring section lost five employees on the island. After the staffing reduction, certain beaches were not being sampled as often. The island of Oahu went from being monitored and sampled 3 times a week to twice a month. The results of the decrease in monitoring resulted in lowered report actions; less than 1 percent of the time (EPA’s BEACH Report Hawaii). Increases in funding for the programs can get the monitoring and sampling of coastal recreation waters done more frequently. The specific island of Oahu that had funding cut for their program could advocate for other resources such as grants and private funding. I think that is something that would get staff back and increase the awareness of pollution occurrences.
“Summary of the Beach Act” Laws and Regulations formed by the EPA
“EPA’s BEACH Report: Hawaii 2010 Swimming Season” composed by the EPA