It’s been a strange summer. Certainly enjoyable, but somehow different.
Muggier than most and lacking those hot days with cooling winds from the south that sea folks in coastal area revel in. Fishing was poorer with a few exceptions and the vast schools of baitfish offshore, the bays and sound were a rare occurrence. But with all the red tides, brown tides, oxygen depletion and fish kill reports I feel it is time to wave a red flag to all you boaters, fisher folk, surfers and nature lovers about the health of H2O worldwide. It isn’t good.
Water is the life giver of our planet. Ever notice that whenever a space probe nears a planet the ‘’news’’ plays up that scientists are looking for “ice, surface or signs of possible subsurface water”. Why? Because water means and sustains life.
On our planet water sustains EVERYTHING. And yet, for something more valuable to life than gold, silver, diamonds and rubies, we have treated H2O miserably. We dam rivers and streams to harness power. We irrigate farm fields often by starving streams and rivers dry. A perfect example is the once mighty Colorado River. It starts as a torrent in the Rockies and ends as a muddy puddle on the border of Texas and Mexico. The same fate fell on great Colombia River and it all but destroyed its ancient Salmon runs. The Hudson River was polluted by sewage and PCB poisoning from cities and factories along her banks.
Locally rivers and streams on Long Island, in New England and New Jersey, suffer various degrees of stress from nitrates, chemicals and the throwaways of our society including, ironically, water bottles - the curse of the environment. Fracking and coal dust stress streams and rivers in our mountains and on the plains. Pollution from rivers and streams worldwide account for an incredible 95% of the pollution entering the oceans causing the death of ocean reefs and fish habitat. Enormous amounts of garbage float like islands that eventually reach the shorelines. One such area in the Pacific is trapped by currents and remains fairly stationary. It is the size of Texas!
In Africa, vast areas where freshwater was once abundant are now arid. The people living there barely survive. India and China have huge freshwater resource issues that must be addressed and even the lower Amazon has been become affected. The fact is, humankind has declared “World War on Water” while we close our eyes and ignore the consequences.
The local and Federal governments are slow to move. Their plans often shortsighted, slow to implement, and changes according to what each new administrations agenda is. An example of this is the oil pipeline from Canada. It was going to run under the main clear water sources of a Native American Reservation in the Dakotas. President Obama moved it to protect the water. Trump moved it back thereby jeopardizing the water again. This is so shortsighted. Water moves through tribal lands down into other areas of farmland, ranches and towns. It is not only an “Indian Rights” issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a clean water issue. Partisanship and business profits have no place here. Scenarios like this are acted out every day, not only in America but in the entire world.
While we have to clean up our own messes we must also call all governments to task. We need worldwide efforts to cooperatively save the oceans, lakes, streams and rivers of our planet. We must hold chemical companies responsible for promoting the use of chemicals that leach into all our waters.
We need to join together with advocacy groups to seek new ways to arrive at sensible and sustainable harvesting of seafood. It is not enough to sit on your boat and occasionally take your fluke net and pick up a water or beer bottle floating by while you’re anchored at Fire Island, Block Island, Raritan Bay or Essex, CT. It takes commitment. It takes writing your Senators and Congressmen, your local and town officials and calling them to task and it takes donating your time and money to local advocates.
Commit your TIME, HEART and VISION!! The future children of the world will love you for it.
C. 2017 Mark C. Nuccio. All rights reserved
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did You Know?
Every year the following are dumped into our oceans:
• 20 billion tons of plastics.
• 6 million tons of petroleum.
• Trillions of gallons of raw sewage.
1.2 trillion from the USA alone.
• 180 metric tons of chemical waste.
This is the result:
• Half the Earth's drinking water is polluted
• 45% of USA streams and lakes are polluted.
• Over 8,000 species of existing fish and sea
mammals are threatened with extinction.
• New methods of undersea mineral mining
are threatening the ocean bottoms.
• By 2025 over 2.8 billion people will be
lacking clean, drinkable water.
• Sadly, every 20 seconds a child in the
world dies from a waterborne illness.