It’s been acknowledged that there is a big problem with the contamination with fecal matter of the water at the beach. Yet, there’s another, even greater problem than that, as a recent study points out that feces bacteria & the beach really come together in more than one way.
Apparently, the greatest problem with the fecal matter at the beach lies not at sea. Nor in the public toilets (though it may be argued that this is of more concern). But, the direst of fecal infestation lies right beneath our noses – or our beach sheets, to be more precise:
It turns out there’s more feces in the sand than in the water. Yes, you heard me. That’s true.
So, say goodbye to sitting plainly on the beach. Always bring a beach-towel. Always. But what about this study? How does the sand gather up so much bacteria?
The team led by Tao Yan, of the Manoan University of Hawaii, conducted this specific study on the busy beaches of Hawaii – one of the most common destinations for tourists of the U.S. and not only. The preliminary results of the team revealed an increased possibility of fecal contamination on land than on sea. Deriving from the increased bacterial presence in the sand composition (bacteria such as the already famous E. coli).
The authors of the study even stated that the contamination of the water could be a direct consequence of the touch zone between the water and the sand. Add to this the contamination prevailing from sewer pipes which in some areas drain directly into the sea, as well as from other sources and what do you get?
A perfect bacteria and disease potent cocktail. Ailments such as stomach aches, diarrhea (I know, it’s ironic), and also rashes, as these bacteria can severely irritate the skin.
Former studies over the last ten years have, strangely, led to the conclusion that fecal matter was at least ten times (and up to 100 times) higher that in the corresponding area of seawater. This is what stirred the interest of the Hawaiian team members, who simulated beach conditions in their laboratory and tested the sand to see what they could find.
The reason for this overwhelming contamination, they say, is the fact that in the sand, fecal matter very hardly deteriorates, compared to water. The scientists conclude by sending a warning to the authorities of the beaches of the world that much more attention should be paid to the composition of the sand.
Image source: wp.com