New Study Shows Coastal Air Quality in San Diego and Tijuana Is Unsafe

by on November 21, 2023 · 2 comments

in Environment, Health, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By María José Durán / San Diego Magazine / Nov. 21, 2023

Some Californians rejoice when rain falls—but surfers aren’t among them. San Diegans have known for a long time that swimming in the ocean after a storm is a risk to their health, since runoff can send contaminants streaming into the sea. But recent discoveries are bringing to light that swimming or surfing in bacteria-contaminated water is no longer the only way to get exposed. Just walking on the beach—or merely existing near the coast—can make people sick.

South Bay Urgent Care owners Matt and Kimberly Dickson say they have documented a 560 percent increase in diarrhea cases at their Imperial Beach location whenever there’s a big flow of polluted water coming into the ocean from the border.

“We have boots on the ground. We have a location close to where the sewage is a problem. We see those patients that have been affected,” Kimberly Dickson told the California Coastal Commission (CCC) at their October 10 meeting.

In Imperial Beach, the coastline has been closed due to bacteria present in the ocean every single day this year—partly due to a ruptured main on the Mexican side of the border and a sewage treatment plant on the San Diego side that’s barely functional.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist Matthew Pendergraft grew up in Imperial Beach. His most cherished memories involve going to the shore with his family. “That opportunity is being taken away from people as the problem has gotten worse and not better over the course of my life,” he says.

For the balance of this article, please go here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris November 21, 2023 at 1:48 pm

“New Study Shows Coastal Air Quality in San Diego and Tijuana Is Unsafe”

Do you mean water quality?


LBruce November 21, 2023 at 2:06 pm

No, AIR quality. This is relatively new but a number of articles have appeared in the last few months describing recent studies which prove danger of inhaling the sea spray and air at contaminated beaches. I love to walk the IB beaches but won’t as long as this horrific pollution persists. Heartbreaking.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: