By David Perloff
On May 22, Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay released its 24th annual Beach Report Card.
Says the report of San Diego's coastal waters: Some 99 percent of those beaches received A grades for the summer period, up from the previous year's 96 percent.
Look, Ma, we aced it! (In killer whale terms, there's never been a better time to be released from SeaWorld.)
So what's causing all this cleanliness? Are America's Finest curbside dolphins - the ones painted by the sewers, pleading: No Dumping, I Live Downstream - finally getting their message across? Maybe it's the combination of the beach alcohol ban and the county's proliferation of craft breweries that's been pulling would-be beach-goers (and their cigarette butts and beer cans) off the sand and out of the water.
Alas, according to Heal the Bay, it's neither of these things.
The good news... actually, the good news is kinda hazy. Turns out the local shoreline's scoring an A is largely thanks to the historic drought. With no rain to rinse the pollution from the streets, there's been less contaminated run-off flowing into the drainage pipes that dot the coast.
An El Nino predicted for later this year will likely even the score, relieving the drought while simultaneously decimating the city's next Beach Report Card.
"During wet weather, slightly more than one in five beaches in San Diego County received grades of C, D or F for levels of bacterial pollution," says the current Heal the Bay report.
So, America's Finest might not get into an Ivy League school any time soon, but at least community college remains an option. Plus the coming rains are sure to help San Diego's celebrated brewers, who will sell even more beer when citizens realize the city's drinking water supply is nearly depleted.
Scientists say it's climate change. Televangelist Pat Robertson says, "It's been cold as the Dickens."
Whichever side you're on, dear Reader, please enjoy this Water Issue of PacificSD, which offers a happy medium between crashing waves and melting icebergs, pool parties and beach bashes, a sunset sail in Coronado and riding a jet ski in Mission Bay.
Water we waiting for?
-David Perloff, Editor in Chief
Plastic bags have a life expectancy of 1,000 years, despite the fact that they're used (on average) for only 12 minutes. And due to the bags' light weight, they're more likely to float away from landfills and end up in the ocean. Scientists estimate there are 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean worldwide, with more than six times as much plastic than plankton present in some areas of the North Pacific. Surfrider Foundation encourages everyone to "Rise Above Plastics" and reduce their footprint. Learn more at surfrider.org.