This week my group was at Malibu Beach in Dorchester! This is the only beach all summer that not one of our members has been to before. On our first day we were using air drones to get some aerial shots of the beach when the blade cut my finger. I’m fine, just needed a band-aid, but the look on my teammates faces were priceless. Anyways, our theme this week was water quality, and conveniently enough our 2019 beach season water quality report was released! Overall I was highly surprised by the results!
Sam showing us how to use the drone to prevent injuries, oops.
Being from the South Shore, there is a misunderstanding about the quality of water in Boston. Many people believe that the water closer to Boston must be more polluted than that of the South Shore, due to larger populations, and a higher probability that chemicals could end up in the water. However this is not the case. According to the 2019 Metropolitan Beaches Water Quality Report Card, beaches closer to the city like Pleasure Bay at Castle Island, Carson, and Revere scored about the same or higher than my home beach Nantasket in overall water quality. These scores are recorded by taking water samples, these samples were then tested by the standards set by the Department of Public Health.
This infographic explains the variation of how water runoff is spread in different types of environments
According to this report, this is the most straightforward way of evaluating the water quality of the beaches. Overall, in 2019 the average score of all beaches went down, from 94 percent to 88 percent, but it’s not time to sound the alarm just yet. 2019 overall was a highly wet year, it rained most days in the spring, which would explain the overall decline in scores. I remember on my college campus wearing rain boots everyday for two months, walking to class everyday in about 4 inches of water (they call it BridgeWATER State for a reason!)
Drain cover sign that reminds people what gets in the drains goes into our oceans.
As rain falls or snow melts, that water washes through different areas of land to reach the next accessible drainage point, which then goes into our harbors, this is Urban Runoff, which is also why you see those plates on the ground near drains saying “protect our harbor” etc. Everything that gets into our harbors could be swept up into our water cycles, drinking water, or beaches, and by extension our bodies. This then can make an impact on our ecosystems or overall health. What they say about keeping our harbor clean is true, clean water is everyone’s responsibility!
Teammate Aleena and I in kayaks on the Charles River, taken by Jasmine
Stay clean Boston!
EPA. “Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff.” Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution, www.epa.gov/nps.