A new report from CBC News shows that the last day of summer can mean the difference between life and death for many beachgoers.
“The days we’ve been on are just not going to last,” said Jennifer Paz-Bertone.
“We’ve been seeing more and more things that have not gone well.”
Paz is an environmental health specialist with the City of Halifax.
She has been on the job for about two years and is the only person on staff who knows what’s going on on the beach.
“In the last couple of years, there have been so many things that are going wrong that we are not able to really know what’s happening,” she said.
“Some things that we have been seeing are quite significant, and some are just minor things.”
For example, the report says the mercury levels in the water are at record highs in the summer.
The city of Halifax is calling for a reduction in mercury levels on beaches.
Paz says the water is being treated at the same time as it’s being cleaned.
But there are also issues that go beyond the mercury, including the issue of pollution.
“One of the things we’ve seen in recent years is that the quality of the sand that is being used is very poor,” she told CBC News.
“So that can affect the health of the person that’s swimming, the people that are swimming, or the birds and the fish.”
It is estimated that at least 5,500 people are affected by mercury in Nova Scotia each year.
And this number will likely increase as the province continues to clean up the ocean and its waters.