Beaches comprise the unconsolidated sediment that lies at the junction point between water

Beaches comprise the unconsolidated sediment that lies at the junction point between water (sea, lake, river) and land. The sediment is usually composed of sand, mud and/or pebbles. In recent years, special attention is being paid to the care and cleaning of the coasts, since many stakeholders have turned their interest to risks from environmental exposure because tourism is a very powerful sector of the economy for many countries (Velonakis et al. 2014).
Beach tourism also otherwise known as coastal tourism and recreation is an important part of the largest and most rapidly growing activity in the world (Houston, 1995). Beach tourism embraces the full range of tourism, leisure and recreational oriented activities that take place in the coastal zone and the off shore coastal waters across the world. They include coastal tourism development, for instance, the hotels, resorts, restaurants, food industry, vacation homes and second homes, the infrastructural facilities supporting coastal development like retail businesses, marinas, dive shops, fishing tackle stores, recreational boating harbors, beaches, fishing facilities, boating, cruises, swimming, snorkeling and diving as well as public and private programmes affecting the above-named activities (Houston, 1995).
Beach tourism is becoming a highly competitive business as nations actively seek to draw increased numbers of visitors and increased foreign earnings to the shores. However, given today’s rapid pace of communication, the existence of poor water quality or degraded or eroding beaches is quickly communicated among networks of travel agents and others in the tourism marketing business. Despite increased awareness of the economic and environmental significance, it is only in recent years that a substantial body of research has emerged on the environmental health quality of beaches (Wong, 1993).
Recently, Centers for Disease Control reported that the incidence of infections associated with recreational water have steadily increased over the past several decades, as a result of emerging pathogens, increases in aquatic activities and better disease reporting (Halliday and Gast, 2011). According to the international bibliography, many microorganisms have been isolated from the sand as well. A number of species and genera of these microorganisms are potential pathogens and feasibly can come into contact with humans through sand (WHO, 2003; Elmanama et al, 2005 and Beversdorf et al., 2007).
Contamination sources can be either point or non-point ones. Point sources are located in a specific position and are easily identifiable. In contrast, non-point sources are disseminated and hardly recognizable. The microbial load of non-point sources (e.g. runoff from urban and rural areas, leaks from biological cleaning systems and drainage systems, discharges from boats and atmospheric deposition of aerosols) is large (Stewart et al., 2008). Epidemiological studies on beaches with non-point source pollution are fewer and have dubious success in correlating faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) abundance to bather health outcomes of enteric illness, respiratory and skin infections. However, FIB absence does not always exclude the presence of other pathogenic microorganisms in sea water samples examined for their microbiological quality. Nevertheless, at a beach in California, affected primarily by non-point source pollution, although no association was found between the abundance of traditional FIB and bather’s health problems, there has been an increased incidence of diarrhoea and skin rashes when compared to non-bathing beachgoers (Halliday and Gast, 2011).


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