Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 2/6

AMERICA

I’ve known about heavy metals, pesticides, drugs/medicine, chemicals, etc. in America’s water supply for some time, which is why we distill the water we drink at home. However, when I wrote Water, the Democracy versus the Authoritarian Republic, the focus was on which country was doing a better job supplying drinking water to its people—India or China—the topic wasn’t about water contamination, which I knew to be more of a global challenge due to our modern lifestyles.

Before I turn to America’s contaminated soil and fresh water , I want to point out that China’s enemies and/or critics only want to focus on China because their goal is to demonize China and the Chinese and they cannot achieve this when we compare an issue in China such as contaminated soil and fresh water with the same issue in other countries.


Clean Water Act in America

The total land area of America is 9,161,966 square km. and arable land covers 18.01% of that. Irrigated land covers about 230,000 sq km.

The CIA Factbook says of ‘Environment – current issues’ – “air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification.”

The New York Times reported in 2009, “Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from human and animal waste, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.”


Supreme Court Restricts Clean Water Act in the United States

Red Orbit.com, which is an education reference site, says, “Today’s soil contamination is a direct result of man-made chemicals or other changes in nature’s soil environment. This contamination most commonly occurs from underground storage tanks bursting, use of pesticides, discarding oil and fuel illegally, leakage of dirty surface water, draining of wastes from landfalls and knowingly dumping industrial wastes into the soil. The most widespread chemicals found are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, common pesticides, lead and additional heavy metals. This development of contamination is compared with the quantity of industrializations and the severity of chemical usage… Most of the contaminated land has been identified in North America and Western Europe. A legal foundation has been put in place to recognize and handle this environmental issue in many of their countries.


The Truth about Bottled Water – if you are not watching the videos, you are not getting all the facts.

“The United States may have one of the most massive soil contaminations, but is a leader in outlining and executing standards for cleanup. While other industrialized countries have an abundance of contaminated sites, they do not have the remediation the United States has put into place. Thousands of sites undergo cleanup in the U.S. each year. Cleanup is performed by using microbes, excavation and a more costly extraction or air stripping.”

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are more than 450,000 polluted sites like these existing in the U.S…  Applications of intensive agricultural techniques, which involve the continuous overuse of fertilizers in any form, have been proven to cause salinity in soil quality due to an imbalance in the soil’s nutrient contents. Accordingly, more than a million hectares (10,000 square miles) of agricultural land have become unfit for the growth and production of agricultural crops.” Source: Bright Bulb.com


Contaminated Drinking Water in California

“In USA, there are 600 000 brown fields which are contaminated with heavy metals and need reclamation (McKeehan, 2000). According to government statistics, coal mine has contaminated more than 19 000 km of US streams and rivers from heavy metals, acid mine drainage and polluted sediments. More than 100 000 ha of cropland, 55 000 ha of pasture and 50 000 ha of forest have been lost (Ragnarsdottir and Hawkins, 2005).” Source: Pub Med Central, Journal of Zhejiang University Science, China, March 2008

You may also want to read up on heavy metal contamination from the U.S. Geological Survey of Contaminants in the Mississippi River.

For a better understanding of what is going on in America, I turn you over to Erin Brockovich for a sampling.

The real Erin Brockovich [Julia Roberts played her in the 2000 movie, Erin Brockovich] has been an American consumer advocate for 19 years and in her own words says, “She is still fighting!”

Brockovich says, “As early as 1965 this company knew that the facility in Hinkley, California was contaminating the ground water with high levels of hexavalent chromium and they chose to cover it up.”

Her current work includes the Gulf Oil Spill. She says, ” I am very concerned about the Oil Dispersant “Corexit” that is being used because some reports are coming in about people getting very sick.”

For the Environment, she says, “There is a new twist in the Cameron, Missouri cancer clusters and activist, Erin Brockovich. Families of cancer patients are now suing a hide tanning plant 37 miles away in St. Joseph.”

You may also want to see “America’s Top 10 Worst Man Made Environmental Disasters” at Earth First.com, or this CBS report on A Toxic Cover Up? by Rebecca Leung at 60 Minutes.

Leung says, “It happened in October of 2000, when 300 million gallons of coal slurry – thick pudding-like waste from mining operations – flooded land, polluted rivers and destroyed property in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. The slurry contained hazardous chemicals, including arsenic and mercury.”

Then there is what On Earth.org calls The Largest Environmental Disaster in U.S. History, which took place in Tennessee. In addition, there is also Pharmaceuticals in Our Water Supplies – Are ‘Drugged Waters’ a Water Quality Threat?

________________________

This comment was originally posted at Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 6 on January 31 at 23:34 by an anonymous reader called Bosshard.

Deceit upon deceit?

Dear author, what we find most annoying in the behavior of others are those same behaviors of which we are equally guilty. You appear to dislike: lies, half truths and manipulation.

Regarding water-

You have much to learn.  Boiling water is good for killing bacteria and the like but does nothing to stave off the ill effects of heavy metals like copper, lead and the like. According to the BBC, at least 10% of all Chinese land is contaminated with heavy metals, which are not rendered inert by boiling. Thus, boiling water in China does no good when these elements are present.

When you made your comment, were you engaging in ““willful deception and a refusal to play by the rules?” when you state that boiling Chinese water is an anti-dote?

And an aside, do you personally drink the same water as the folks in Guizhou or Gansu, or do you purchase bottled water, a thing many of them cannot do?

As for your forgone conclusion that the need for water is greater than that of religion, I would disagree. Freedom of religion is paramount to many souls, just ask the Tibetans who will take their own lives in order to achieve such an end. If I were forced to give up my religion for water, I would not do so.

Please do not pretend to know the mind of the masses when yours may not be as open as you may believe.

This site has much information, but the author, like the Jesuits of old appears to have conjured up a China that he wishes us to believe in. The brutal reality of the communist regime  and havoc it brings to its people can best be understood by reading books like Empire of Lies, The Beijing Consensus, Poorly Made in China, The Party, and a host of others.

I will not return to this comment nor website but would like to offer this question:

If you have lived in China, and all of your readers, then you truly know the truth of this place. And if you truly know the truth of this place, then do you think it’s right to knowingly deceive the people about it?

God bless and keep all His children safe and informed.

Continued on February 15 at Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 3 or return to Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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5 Responses to Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 2/6

  1. Another update, which is about the 2012 Community Clean Water Initiative in Northern California—I copied and pasted this from the Website for this voter Initiative. If the voters turn it down, there will be no money to clean up the water.

    Each year, tons of harmful and dangerous pollutants, bacteria and trash are carried through our neighborhoods and enter local creeks, reservoirs, lakes, the Delta and Bay. As water drains from streets, parking lots, and lawns, pollutants are picked up and enter the drainage system through thousands of catch basins throughout Contra Costa County. From there, this polluted water flows through a system of pipes, channels and creeks straight into the Delta and Bay.

    The Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District has teamed up with all 19 of the incorporated cities and towns and Contra Costa County, in a cooperative effort to prevent water pollution. This joint effort is known as the Contra Costa Clean Water Program (“Clean Water Program”).

    The Clean Water Program is now tasked with implementing new State and Federal clean water standards. If local creeks, reservoirs, lakes, the Delta and Bay are not cleaned up, local communities may be forced to pay large fines and will be subject to third-party lawsuits. As a result, the Clean Water Program is proposing the 2012 Community Clean Water Initiative, a spring 2012 property owner election, to improve local water quality and protect our communities from toxic and dangerous pollutants.

    The Proposed “2012 Community Clean Water Initiative” will:
    • Protect local sources of clean drinking water from contamination and pollution

    • Remove harmful and dangerous pollutants, toxic chemicals, and potentially infectious bacteria and viruses from our local creeks, reservoirs, lakes, the Delta and Bay

    • Capture, clean and use rainwater to irrigate local parks and landscaping. This “rainwater harvesting” will also decrease the impacts of polluted stormwater and urban runoff on our local creeks, lakes, reservoirs, the Delta and Bay

    • Prevent illegal or toxic discharges from industrial and commercial properties

    • Provide other clean water and pollution control services and facilities required by Federal and State clean water regulations

    • Keep trash and pollution away from local shorelines, creeks, reservoirs, and the Delta and Bay

    Source: http://www.ci.san-pablo.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1287

  2. An e-mail arrived this morning from the “Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation”. I signed up for this news feed because I served in the First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division in Okinawa and then Vietnam in 1965-66.

    The title of the e-mail speaks volumes about America’s political priorities when measured between health of the environment and the individual and corporate profits.

    The title of the e-mail was “Dow & Monsanto Join Forces to Poison America’s Heartland”. Source: Truth Out.org by Richard Schiffman

    About Monsanto Company—it is the world’s largest provider of patented genetically modified seeds for crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton, bringing in $10.5 billion this past year.

    In fact, anything that makes food more expensive benefits Monsanto, which is why this corporation encourages the use of genetically engineered crops.

    Schiffman says, “In a match that some would say was made in hell, the nation’s two leading producers of agrochemicals have joined forces in a partnership to reintroduce the use of the herbicide 2,4-D, one half of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange, which was used by American forces to clear jungle during the Vietnam War. These two biotech giants have developed a weed management program that, if successful, would go a long way toward a predicted doubling of harmful herbicide use in America’s corn belt during the next decade.”

    Note from Blog host: Because I served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange, I am on the VA’s Agent Orange list. The VA (The United States Department of Veterans Affairs) lists these diseases on the VA Website as Veteran’s Diseases Associated with Agent Orange.

    VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

    Schiffman says, “The problem for corn farmers is that “superweeds” have been developing resistance to America’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, which is being sprayed on millions of acres in the Midwest and elsewhere. Dow Agrosciences has developed a strain of corn that it says will solve the problem. The new genetically modified variety can tolerate 2,4-D, which will kill off the Roundup-resistant weeds, but leave the corn standing. Farmers who opt into this system will be required to double-dose their fields with a deadly cocktail of Roundup plus 2,4-D, both of which are manufactured by Monsanto.”

    Note from Blog host: This actual article is much longer than what I’ve posted in this comment. You may find the rest at Truth Out.org

  3. An update on America’s water and soil pollution

    The New York Times reported this February 10, 2012

    Eleven states sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday over its delays in tightening air quality standards involving soot.

    The states say that soot contributes to respiratory illness and heart disease and causes thousands of premature deaths a year. The states involved in the lawsuit are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/science/earth/epa-is-sued-over-delays-in-soot-standards.html?_r=1&ref=airpollution

    ______________________

    Then there was this from the New York Times on January 23, 2012

    The strict new federal standards limiting pollution from power plants are meant to safeguard human health. But they should have an important side benefit, according to a study being released on Tuesday: protecting a broad array of wildlife that has been harmed by mercury emissions.

    Methylmercury, the most toxic form of the heavy metal, was found to be widespread throughout the Northeast — not just in lakes and rivers, as had already been known, but also in forests, on mountaintops and in bogs and marshes that are home to birds long thought to be at minimal risk.

    The new study found dangerously high levels of mercury in several Northeastern bird species, including rusty blackbirds, saltmarsh sparrows and wood thrushes. Previous studies have shown mercury’s effects on loons and other fish-eating waterfowl, as well as bald eagles, panthers and otters. In one study, zebra finches lost the ability to hit high notes in mating songs when mercury levels rose, affecting reproduction.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/science/study-finds-mercury-in-more-northeastern-bird-species.html?ref=airpollution

  4. Aussie in China says:

    This article in todays media might be of some interest
    http://english.people.com.cn/90882/7732069.html

    • Aussie in China,

      Thank you. This piece shows that China knows of the problem and is planning to do something about it, and the quotes used in the piece come from a government official. It doesn’t appear that China’s central government is trying to hide anything. From what I’ve learned, if there is any cover up going on, it is happening more at the local level than from the top.

      English People.com said, “By 2030, China plans to contain total water consumption at less than 700 billion cubic meters a year, according to the document.

      “Also, the government will control the total quantity of pollutants discharged into rivers to ensure water quality of key rivers and reservoirs across the country, according to the document.

      “China will also spend 1.8 billion yuan ($285.6 million) to set up a nationwide information management system for water resources within the next three years.

      “The country’s monitoring of water resources is expected to greatly improve after the system goes into use,” Hu said.

      I wonder what China’s critics will complain about if and when the water problems are improved as China’s central government is planning to do. For the last thirty years, the world has witnessed China following through with the goals of its plans, which is why China is making history as it modernizes and improved lifestyles for most of its people. In the rush to get this done, it is obvious that many mistakes would happen such as the polluted water and soil this series of posts is about. However, if China makes good on its plans to clean up this mess in the next twenty to thirty years, that will be a good thing.

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