Pollution is shutting down Florida beaches in record numbers. The National Resources Defense Council released its annual beach report this week, showing Florida's beaches closings have gone up 128 percent over the past year.
The Panhandle area was the worst, partly because of all the bays in northwest Florida. High bacteria caused 88 percent of the closings and advisory days.
Linda Young of the Clean Water Network says it’s cause for concern.
"These are extremely disappointing numbers for us to have a look at in writing the report. Look at the data and think of the consequences and the reality of what this means. In this state to have that many of our beaches unsafe for people to get in the water, it’s terrible".
Bay County had the highest number of days in the state when beaches were closed or under a pollution advisory for the 13 monitored beaches locally. Okaloosa County came in second with high pollution levels on 12 beaches.
Here's how the Bay County beach report breaks down:
- The 8th Street coast in Mexico Beach was closed 49 days
- Beach Drive in Panama City came in with 84 days closed or under a health advisory
- The beach at the south end of Beckrich Road at Panama City Beach had 28 days
- Bid-a-Wee was closed or under advisory for 21 days
- Here's the big one, Carl Gray Park was closed for 200 days
- Delwood Beach had 42 days
- Laguna Beach -39 days
- Panama City Beach pier waters were closed or under advisory for 28 days
- Rick Seltzer Park - 14 days
- Spyglass Drive beach waters were closed 38 days
- The Bay/Walton County line had 7 days of closings or advisories
A spokesman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says the increases in beach closings are not because the beaches are dirtier. He says environmental officials are now doing more frequent testing that include additional types of bacteria.
To see how your beaches did, log on to: www.nrdc.org and click on state summaries.