I'm not big on swearing, but this one is accurate. Ever heard the phrase "don't sh*t where you eat"? There's a lot of truth to that sentiment.

If you know your American geography, you know that the Mississippi River empties directly out into the much-romanticized Gulf of Mexico. What you might not know is that for thousands of miles, farms dump all their excess fertilizer (read: cow poo) into the river, where it sludges on down and spreads its toxic payload all over the Gulf.

What's a bit of crap in a body of water that big, you might ask?

How about a colloquially-named "Dead Zone" where, true to the phrasing, everything dies? Everything from marine life the size of big fish down to the smallest amoeba floating in this excrement soup has its little existence extinguished by high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that eats up all the oxygen in the water, leaving only sickly-green algae floating around on the scummy surface. Definitely sounds like somewhere I'd rather not take a dip; how about you?

Oh, did I mention the Mississippi Dead Zone is the size of New Jersey?

Yeah. Over 8000 square miles of fish-free toilet.

Now, I don't want to rag on farmers, don't get that idea. They work hard. Harder than I would particularly want to, that's for sure. But we're living in the 21st century -- can we find no better way to dispose of our hazardous waste than by dumping it in the nearest body of water? I mean, we have to drink this stuff. To say nothing of the poor fish.

You know, there was more I wanted to say on this subject, but honestly I'm just too tired to discuss enormous poo dumping today. It's making me sick to my stomach. I'll revisit this on Monday after I get back from my mini-vacation.

1 comment:

the.frig said...

the dead-zone is wild. When i first learned about this i was amazed and disgusted myself. Another environmental catastrophy along the Mississippi is the damming and levee production that has gone on in the delta region. These actions have stopped much of the sediment that naturally flows into the Gulf from entering the salt-water. This sediment is what produces the vast wetlands that protect coastal communities of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama from brutal tropical storms. Remember Katrina?

Much of Katrina's devastation was thanks to the deteriorating wetlands that act as a natural barrier. Did you know that about one acre of wetlands is lost in South-Eastern Lousiana to the ocean ever 38 minutes? t's hard to believe, but it's true. Industry in the region hasn't helped either. Shipping routes have been cut out in the wetlands to allow easy access for goods into the Mississippa River and Lake Ponchatraine. The shipping routes ahve ultimately assisted in the deterioration of the wetlands.