The Big (Cr)apple: New York’s water woes
Back in September 2009 I posted about some of the fascinating and disgusting things to be found in New York Harbor. It was basically a brief commentary on a feature in New York Magazine, a sort of “did you know?” piece cataloguing some interesting trivia about strange creatures, ship and train wrecks, cars, corpses, coal tar and loads of fish and mollusks that are too contaminated by PCPs (toxic pesticides and disinfectants) to be fit for human consumption. Not much of a fishing industry in NYC.
Oh, and because of the city’s antiquated sewage treatment system, New York’s waterways are also full of human excrement.
Things don’t stop there either. Just up the Hudson from the Big Apple lies Buchanan, NY, home to Indian Point nuclear power plant, which has been deemed by US federal environmental regulators to be “likely to adversely affect” two endangered species of sturgeon that live in the river. The official report wasn’t about nuclear waste, by the way, but rather how the plant’s cooling system sucks in about 2.5 billion gallons (9.5 bn liters) of Hudson River water every day, taking plenty of fish in with it. It has been estimated that between 60 and 70% of the fish that pass through the plant are killed in the process. Read more about that here.
For lots of information on the Hudson River’s water quality check out the Riverkeeper home page. Riverkeeper is a non-profit environmental group dedicated to the Hudson. And the Hudson needs non-government organizations. Although New York City Mayor Bloomberg has received some praise for at least starting to address cleaning up the city’s waterways, cuts in the US federal budget adversely affect the following relevant areas:
(source: Associated Press)
About $12.9 million for clean water and air quality, as to prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.
About $1.2 million for fish and wildlife protection.
About $1 million to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events.
*Numbers refer to New York State’s share of the national budget.
Last but not least, check out the first segment from the Vice Media (VBS TV) show Toxic: America’s Water Crisis. It’s a decent piece of gonzo-hipster journalism and well worth a viewing. The second and third parts are on water shortages in Florida and California, respectively.