After Lake Erie’s contamination from algae growth, authorities told residents not to swim in the lake or drink its water if it happened to look like “spilled green paint.” As you know by now, of all places for algae to form, it had to be smack-dab over the intake pipe for the city of Toledo. 400,000 people were without water for days. Restaurants and other businesses had to close down. It was caused by phosphorus that had washed into the water from farms, cattle feed lots, and leaky septic systems.
Although the EPA and government officials have sounded the alarm for many years about the risk of losing clean drinking water to disasters like this, the message has been falling on deaf ears, or indifferent leaders. I guess what it boils down to is water is not a popular election issue. Besides, corporations that fund candidates have a dog in the fight. Safety regulations decrease profits, which results in less money in the hands of executives and stockholders. At his news conference on Monday, August 4, 2014, Toledo Mayor Michael Collins drank a glass of water from its source of Lake Erie to prove that the water was now safe to drink. I hope it tasted good to him, and he didn’t have to make a quick run to the john, if you know what I mean.
I, too, have a dog in this fight because I care about the future of my children and grandchildren. You should care also, but you’re probably thinking, “Well, I do care, but I’m just one person, and I can’t make a difference.” And I say to you, “YES YOU CAN!” Sorry to shout, but I’m passionate about this. You can vote for candidates that care about the earth. You can purchase products from companies that make efforts to protect the environment. Do the research and the next time you buy paper products and cleaning products choose from a company that puts the welfare of consumers over profits. Lastly, do your part at home. For instance, never, ever pour any type of oil down the drain and make an effort to conserve water. Baby steps, but they add up if we all do our part.
In my opinion water is the most precious natural resource we have. We can’t live without it. I predict that if we stay on the same path we’re headed, a gallon of water will one day cost more than a gallon of gas. This will happen not only because of contamination but because of drought and flooding.
As I write this, I am reminded of one of my favorite poems that I learned in high school: “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The lines that I remember most are these: “Water, water, every where/ nor a drop to drink.”
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to leave your comments.
“Water Drop on Glass” photo courtesy of arztsamui/freedigitalprints.net