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Malibu has 21 miles of coastline. The line where land meets the sea is largely what makes Malibu so special. When you travel to Malibu, local awareness of the eco system will help you recognize what makes this place great.
Malibu's Surfrider Beach still exists today through stewardship of surfers who wanted to protect the wave. This protection has now expanded to the water quality and public beach access. In 2011 Surfrider beach was declared the first ever World Surfing Reserve. Awareness of how a beach is respected, protected and kept for future generations to enjoy will help you do your part on your travels.
Two basic ways to respect any beach you visit:
Don't take the beach home with you.
Don't remove shells or rocks from the beach. These eventually become sand. These contribute to the beach and are part of the fragile eco system.
Don't leave trash behind.
Take out what you bring in. Best yet, use reusable containers and bags. You'll look like a local if you do. Borrow from your hotel if need be.
Do's and Don'ts for visiting Malibu's Beaches:
DO watch the surfers. These gals & guys are amazing athletes and put on a great show.
DO wear wide-spectrum, waterproof, eco-friendly sun screen. One that won't harm the water. A rash guard is great too (and an athletic fashion statement).
DO wear/buy good sunglasses with UV protection. Cheap ones will open your eyes to UV damage.
DO reduce, re-use, recycle food and drink containers you bring to the beach. You'll look like a respectable local.
DO pick up after yourself when leaving the beach.
DO pick up 3 extra pieces of trash when you leave the beach. Surfers and locals will notice.
DO check out the tides online. See when they're high and when they're low. This can affect your ocean enjoyment.
DO use the public restroom when you have to go.
DON'T COLLECT SHELLS. These are part of the beach. The contribute to the sand when they breakdown.
DON'T COLLECT ROCKS. Don't take the beach with you!
DON'T be a kook. Not cool.
DON'T SMOKE OR DRINK ALCOHOL. They're against the law and you will be fined.
DON'T THROW YOUR BUTTS into the sand/on the ground. They're plastic, don't bio-degrade. A study of beach debris found cigarette butts were the most abundant form of beach debris.
DON'T bring styrofoam (polystyrene) coolers or plastic water bottles to the beach. A study of beach debris found polystyrene was the second most abundant form of beach debris. Plastics comprise 90 percent of floating marine debris.
DON'T go swimming within 72 hour after a rain storm. (read below to know why)
More Local Info
Malibu has no sewer system. The houses (er, mansions) all use septic tanks...aging septic tanks. Aging septic tanks leach poo. When it rains storm water saturates the ground and pushes septic tank leachings (human waste anyone?) into the ocean. Storm runoff also goes into the ocean/beach. This runoff takes with it oil and dirt from roads, pesticides from people's yards, and wild animal waste from the hillsides. Malibu's Surfrider beach has failed water quality testing after every rainstorm for the past decade. Take care and make sure you don't go into the water within 72 hours of a rain storm. You don't want to get sick this way.
The city of Los Angeles has mandated that Malibu install a sewer system in the basin above Surfrider Beach by 2019. Commercial properties are mandated to be on the sewer system by 2015.
So, take care when swiming in the waters off Malibu.
The Plastics Problem:
Polystyrene foam (PS), (commonly known as Styrofoam®) is pervasive in the environment, is extremely damaging throughout its lifecycle, and is rarely recycled. Occupational exposure to Styrene increases risk of lymphoma, leukemia, lung tumors, pancreatic cancer, urinary bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. Public health is impacted by the use of polystyrene food containers. Styrene can migrate from polystyrene containers into food and beverages when heated, or in contact with fatty or acidic foods. Styrene residues are found in 100% of all samples of human fat tissue.
Because it is lightweight and floats, PS is easily swept from streets and through storm drains out to the ocean. In the environment, the containers break down into smaller and smaller pieces and are easily mistaken for food by marine animals.