Environment News | Headlines and Top Stories
- 17 December 2008 | Environment
The Adopt-A-Beach Program gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about and participate in the conservation of our coastal resources. Specifically, windsurfers surfers and recreational water users are encouraged to give something back to the marine environments that are so crucial for their pursuits.
The grounds for concern derive from water pollution problems that are caused by everyday people doing every day things.
Rain scours oil from parking lots, fertilizer from lawns, pet droppings from sidewalks and other contaminants from "non-point" sources transports this toxic stew down storm drains and over land into the ocean.
- 12 December 2008 | Environment
Save The Waves Coalition and the International Surfing Association (ISA) announce an innovative, multilateral partnership to proactively designate and protect special surfing locations around the world through an internationally recognized surfing conservation initiative: the World Surfing Reserves program.
To guarantee the protection of waves worldwide, local and national support is critical, and the ISA, through its affiliated National Governing Bodies, plays an essential role in reaching national and regional leaders where specific wave zones are situated.
“The ISA is very pleased to act as a catalyst in this new program,” says Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association.
“We’re not saving the waves for surfers, because we’re surfers. We’re protecting these special places as citizens of the world, because community surfing areas are not only an important part of the natural coastal environment, but they are increasingly an important part of local and national culture, and a vital element of local economies and socio-economical development.”
“To truly protect waves worldwide, local interests are of great importance,” says Dean LaTourrette, executive director of Save The Waves. “The ISA’s support is critical to reach regional leaders where wave zones are located, and without the grassroots support of local communities, we couldn’t move forward with the World Surfing Reserves program.”
Other key elements of the program include the creation of a World Wave Sites Fund to finance signage, research, and campaigns for the protection of waves, and pending partnerships and endorsements with the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), National Surfing Reserves (NSR) Australia, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Center, Global Heritage Fund (GHF), as well as other groups that will help support and implement the program worldwide.
To help launch the program, Save The Waves hosted the Value of Waves Roundtable on Friday, December 5th, in Half Moon Bay, California, to bring together thought leaders from various disciplines, to discuss the worldwide program management and implementation.
The day’s events culminated with the inking of the partnership and endorsement of the World Surfing Reserves concept by the ISA and Save The Waves Coalition, signed by Aguerre and LaTourrette on behalf of their respective organizations.
- 13 November 2008 | Environment
Almost a 1/3rd (32.3%) of designated beaches in England and Wales have failed to meet the UK’s guideline standard for water quality during the 2008 bathing season.
There are 495 designated bathing waters in England and Wales and of these 160 could not meet the tougher of 2 water quality standards set by the European Union (EU) to protect public health and the environment from faecal pollution at bathing waters.
While leading clean water campaigners, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) feel all designated beaches should meet the ‘guideline’ standard, given it has been set as a target for 32 years under the 1976 EU Bathing Water Directive, changes in weather conditions are now making this task increasingly difficult.
Despite a massive investment in the sewerage infrastructure right across the UK, the last 2 years of wet summer weather has highlighted just how vulnerable the nation’s beaches are to dips in water quality after heavy rainfall. SAS predict worse is to follow if our summers continue to be broken by intense rainfall events as expected in the coming years.
However, SAS are quick to point out that a solution which reduces the impact of heavy rainfall on future water quality results, should not just fall on the shoulders of the nation’s water companies, but will require a well defined and integrated strategy from a number of authorities.
While pollution from sewage treatment works continue to be a problem during wet weather, run-off from agriculture and urban areas are also having an impact on the bathing results, highlighting just how diverse the sources of pollution can be.
Water customers will also have a role to play and they must be aware that wasting water in the house adds to the burden of local sewage treatment works.
When you combine this with normal wastewater flows and any storm water that might also be generated from a heavy rainfall event, then the majority of sewage treatment works won’t have the capacity to ‘treat’ this water. Instead, it will enter local rivers or the sea with higher bacterial loads. This can create poorer water quality and increase the public health risks for those using the water for recreation.