Study: Beaches Are Literal Human Litter Boxes


All this time you were worried about the water, but the sand is the real problem.

You’re not only swimming in pee and poop particles, but also walking in it, too. According to a study in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the sand in polluted beaches is considerably more contaminated than the seawater (up to 100 times higher in some cases) because organisms survive longer outside the water.

Why is science doing this to you? Research confirms:

In the lab, the researchers created microcosms of beach sand and seawater contaminated with sewage to see how the overall bacterial populations, including fecal dwellers responsible for causing illness, would change over time. They found that microbial communities tended to decay much slower in the simulated beach sand environment than in the water, which could help explain why more fecal bacteria are found on sandy beaches affected by wastewater pollution than in the waves.

This means that soon after you take that dip in the ocean, you’ll be greeted with even grosser bacteria once you lay your beautiful body down in that sand.

Bacterial organisms gotta tan, too.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Shutterstock

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin