New Jersey might have to close several of its beaches this holiday weekend because of unhealthy water. Tests done by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection found too much fecal bacteria in the water. 

This type of pollution mostly comes from animal waste and has likely increased due to recent heavy rains washing it into the ocean.

New Jersey Faces Beach Closures Due to High Bacteria Levels

(Photo : Tomwsulcer on Wikimedia Commons)

New Jersey Beaches Under Watchful Eye

Five beaches across Atlantic and Ocean Counties are now being watched closely. 

As per New Jersey 101.5, the affected sites include Beachwood's Western beach, Stockton Avenue bay front beach in Long Beach Township, 14th Street bay front beach in Ship Bottom, Jennifer Lane bay beach in Stafford Township, and Arkansas Avenue beach in Atlantic City.

These beaches remain open for now, but officials are warning people to stay cautious. 

Swimming in contaminated water can make people sick, causing stomach problems, vomiting, and infections in the ears, nose, and throat. The bacteria can also affect the sand close to the water.

New Jersey is taking this issue seriously. Further water tests are planned to see if the bacteria levels go down. If they don't, the state may close the beaches to swimmers to keep everyone safe. 

The beaches would still be open for other activities, but swimming might be off-limits.

Residents and visitors planning to hit the beaches in New Jersey this weekend should stay updated on the latest health advisories and be prepared for possible changes to their plans.

Related Article: Massachusetts Takes Action as Bacteria Shuts Down 42 Beaches

Beaches Shut Due to Bacteria Scare

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, officials across the United States are closing beaches or advising against swimming due to high levels of dangerous bacteria. These bacteria include fecal waste and cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, found in freshwater.

States like Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York have recently found beaches with unsafe levels of fecal waste. 

In particular, New Jersey has joined others in reporting such contamination, affecting summer plans. Illinois has placed 16 beaches under advisory, while Michigan has closed two and issued warnings for five others.

Vermont has raised alarms at six locations due to cyanobacteria risks, urging people to avoid swimming in those waters. Exposure to cyanobacteria can lead to severe health issues, including damage to the kidneys, liver, or reproductive organs due to toxins like microcystin.

According to Yahoo! News, research links the increase in harmful algal blooms to climate change, making these incidents more common. 

These blooms and fecal contamination can cause stomach illnesses and skin infections, posing a higher risk to children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

Robert Goldstein, a health official in Massachusetts, explained that the recent spate of bacteria-related beach closures typically follows heavy rainfall, which washes contaminants from the land into the water. 

Massachusetts sees about 5% of its beaches closed annually due to such pollution, although these currently represent only a fraction of the state's many beaches.

Goldstein emphasized the importance of public awareness and personal responsibility in maintaining beach cleanliness. He advised beachgoers to clean up after pets and dispose of trash properly to prevent contributing to the contamination.

Residents and visitors in affected states, including New Jersey, are encouraged to stay informed through health department updates and heed any posted warnings at their local beaches.

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