Thursday, March 6, 2014

Flood Waters' Toxic Legacy

By Jesus Santos

Last September, an article by Glenn Scherer appeared in Living Green Magazine titled “Biblical Floods Leave Toxic Legacy,” which dealt with the big flood in Colorado, hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and superstorm Sandy in New Jersey and New York.  These are three different regions in the United States where flood waters caused massive amount of money to be spent while exposing a lot of toxic material. These floods caused homes to be destroyed, toxics to be spilled in water and spread in the air.

“It’s known that Sandy spread 11 billion gallons of raw sewage across eight states, according to a study by—enough to fill 250,000 swimming pools,” Scherer wrote, which is why in New Jersey people could not drive in certain areas because of how polluted it was.

It is hard to determine how the United States and countries around the world can live a healthier life for the future and have a better environmental climate when these natural disasters continue to occur.

The article points out how the world is becoming warmer and wetter and there is an increase in temperature from years before, such as the few days of snow last winter in New Jersey, and the the increase in temperature is also causing ice glaciers to break and many animals to fend for their lives or otherwise being pushed to extinction.

It also notes the percentage of how much everything changed from the middle of the 1900’s. The article states that “between 1958 and 2011, precipitation falling in heavy downpours increased by an astounding 74 percent in the Northeast U.S., 45 percent in the Midwest, 26 percent in the Southeast, 21 percent in the High Plains states, and 12 percent in the Rockies and most of the West, according to NOAA.”

The only way that the nation can protect itself from more rising temperature and weather is to take care of the small things; use less power, less energy, and stop mass producing items which ultimately forces factories and many other industrial workers to release more gas into the world. The release of this gas is what causes toxic to be release into the air and what opens the hole in the ozone layer. The sad part is that these natural disasters continue to happen because of  a toxic legacy which produces more natural disasters which produces more toxic legacy, therefore the nation is facing a bad cycle that it is hard to stop. While promises have been made in regards to helping the environment nothing is too certain on how to stop these disasters from occurring.

Another step to prevent more toxic legacy to happen is to protect homes, buildings, and other toxic potential places by securing them from natural disasters. The article states that both “the fossil fuel and chemical industries, and others who work with dangerous substances, need to develop realistic disaster plans to protect against release during floods.”

I feel that the United States is very prone and open to harm from these natural disasters to happen and occurring mass toxics to be released. The world should be more informed of the ways that people can help the environment in order to produce less gas to be wasted; public transportation should be more of an option for people, tobacco companies should stop advertising and glamorizing cigarettes since it causes air damage, and people should be more aware that their waste is what is causing these disasters to happen more and more often.

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