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We all need to be part of the solution

September 19, 2018
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

The water quality crisis in Florida is a wakeup call to us all. Calling the current ecological disaster a result of red or brown tide is misleading. The correct prospective is that the widespread death of sea life, the increasing areas of dead zones in the Gulf and Ocean and the mats of green algae over most of the canals and rivers in southern Florida is a result of human pollution. Let me say this again, Human Pollution. While the bacteria that cause red and brown tide are naturally occurring, they are being fed by pollution.

We need to change how we discuss and approach this extreme environmental crisis to have any hope of changing the status quo. There have been comments by the Big Sugar Industry that they are not to blame. This is in part true, as we are all part of the problem. However, as a large agricultural industry they bear a larger part of the impact on our environment. So, let's stop the blame game and try to work together as a community to fix this problem NOW.

There are several easy and inexpensive ways to ameliorate the pollution problem.

First, everyone should be responsible for providing some kind of physical barrier around their property to ensure any runoff is filtered before entering common waterways or water tables. This includes everyone, individual homeowners, farmers and businesses. There are easy methods to accomplish this, from crushed shells/stones to BioChar/charcoal. The advantage of the BioChar is that it not only absorbs the harmful elements like phosphorus and nitrogen, but it breaks down to become part of the soil. This has the advantage of recycling fertilizer and reducing overall costs, while cleaning the runoff water. BioChar is inexpensive, and has been used to clean lakes from harmful algal overgrowth.

Second, environmentally friendly pest/weed control and fertilizer should be used. We are all aware that harmful chemicals in our foods cause health problems. Why should this be any different in our water or air? Glyphosate has been shown to be carcinogenic, why do we still use it? More importantly, why is it still being sprayed in Lake Okeechobee as I write this?

And third, weeds in our waterways filter the water and provide a healthy environment for fish and other sea life. Stop spraying weed killer in Lake Okeechobee and the feeder canals and rivers. This is only compounding the damage from agricultural and private home runoff. This makes a bad situation worse by feeding this polluted runoff. It's pollution on steroids.

Let's not put our heads in the sand any longer. Let's not fight among ourselves with who is responsible for the current health and environmental crisis in Florida, we all are. If a dog owner lets its pet leave droppings on everyone's lawn, who should clean it up? The answer is obvious, the pet owner. We all contribute to pollution; we should all try to clean up our own messes. Those that pollute more should be responsible for their own cleanup, and not pass it on to the taxpayer. Florida can turn this environmental crisis around by instituting simple and inexpensive regulations that everyone must adhere to. No one person or business entity should be exempt from these common sense requirements. Let's lead by example and be the first state in the nation to do so. Our children's future depends on it.

Leslie Turner

Fort Myer

 
 

 

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