Beach closings and warnings due to bacterial contamination are on the rise at Chicago metro beaches, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The report tallied 310 closing and health advisory days at the city’s 23 monitored Lake Michigan beaches in 2005, a 135 percent jump from 132 the year before, according to a release rom the NRDC.
“Chicagoans looking to take a dip in Lake Michigan wind up swimming in human and animal waste,” said Laurel O’Sullivan, NRDC Great Lakes campaign coordinator.
Chicago has been working aggressively to reduce stormwater pollution for a number of years, said O’Sullivan. But even with Chicago’s leadership, people swimming in Lake Michigan are getting sick from contaminated water, according to NRDC. Surveys conducted in 2002 and 2003 by the EPA found 11 percent of swimmers who submerged their heads became sick with gastrointestinal illnesses and 17 percent contracted respiratory illnesses, the release said.
Personally, I blame Mayor Daley. Anyone else? Please?