Report released on best, worst beaches

SANTA MONICA, Calif. In 2008, the number of beach closures was actually down by 10 percent from the year before, but that's because of drought conditions, not because of any improvements done to clean up the water.

The state of California ranks 22 in the study released by the /*Natural Resources Defense Council/* (NRDC).

"The number one marine debris is actually cigarette butts," said Philippe Cousteau.

"That's just people throwing them out on the beach and not thinking about the impact of their behavior," he said.

In Southern California, some of the worst beaches include Avalon Beach (north of GP Pier), Cabrillo Beach, Santa Monica State Beach-Pier, Doheny State Beach, Kiddie Beach.

When samples were tested from Avalon Beach on Catalina, it exceeded the health standards of bacteria in the water by 64 percent.

Beachgoer Molly DeLeon said she never goes in the beach water, calling it poison.

"It's too dirty. Plus I don't swim, so I just bike," she said.

Kiddie Beach in Ventura County was one of the cleaner beaches in Southern California at 12 percent.

According to the NRDC study, pollution from storm water runoff and sewage overflows continues to make its way to beaches. Swimmers going to beaches nationwide take a chance of contracting diseases such as the stomach flu, skin rashes, dysentery and hepatitis.

The study offered a solution to clean up the beach water.

"Low Impact Development is a storm water management and land use planning system that uses trees, vegetation and gardens, green roofs, rain barrels and open spaces in order to capture and absorb water to that it doesn't transport pollution to the beaches," said Noah Garrison from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Some of the cleanest beaches in the country are also here in California, and they are in Orange County.

The study ranked the 200 most popular beaches in the country on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being best. Main Beach in the city of Laguna Beach was ranked a 5-star beach in Southern California.

Bolsa Chica and Newport Beach were also named one of the cleanest beaches in the U.S.

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