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Call it what it is — pollution

By Staff | Oct 28, 2020

To the editor:

The Army Corp of Engineers has been sending polluted waters down the Caloosahatchee River from the polluted Lake Okeechobee. For the last month, algae blooms have begun in Cape Coral canals. Cheerful chirping from James Evans of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation that the concurrent arrival of algae blooms “..have not been bad..” suggest something more like plucky official optimism from a guy who lives south of Cape Coral than an accurate appraisal of the damage.

The problem is not new. Cape Coral is less politically connected for some reason than Florida’s east coast, and the pollution from Lake Okeechobee’s disgusting run-off is disproportionately directed to us down the Caloosahatchee River because, well; we let it happen. We live in a democracy, and when we as citizens do not take our leaders in hand, we get pay to play results. Cape Coral citizens are not squeaky wheels when it come to their health for some reason. Our city, county and state officials show no concern for our water safety.

The solution must be to end the pollution into the lake, and clean the lake up. Not helpful is pretending it will all be OK, nor get regional about which side of the state should absorb the lion’s share of the lake’s polluted discharge (euphemistically referred to as “freshwater” in the pollution-collaborating local press).

The real solution is to clean the lake up. People who own a home on a canal in Cape Coral do not deserve to be gagged with the stench of toxic discharge. Cape Coral should not be targeted to absorb pollution that might otherwise drift to Sen. Scott’s beach front home further south. Lake Okeechobee is a state disaster and it will require political will to regulate the polluters who make their profit margin off the free service of industrial waste dumping into Lake Okeechobee provided by the state of Florida.

We citizens can start by voting as though we cared about our environment, and calling on the media to address, with mere accuracy, the term pollution. It is not “nutrients” in the water that cause the algae blooms. Phosphorus and other industrial-strength pollution delivered by the metric ton into our water source, are also found in fertilizer. That pesticides and herbicides are made of compounds does not make the water the chemicals pollute more “nutrient laden.” They make the water unfit for life.

When the Oklahoma city terrorist blew up the Alfred Murrah building with a bomb made of phosphorus laced fertilizer, the press did not wax poetic about the nutritional value of the highly reactive chemical compound. Nobody said, hey that McVeigh fellow really added some nutrition to the day care center he blew sky high.

But when the Army Corp of Engineers decides to dump sludge down the Caloosahatchee river, we are bleatingly told by the obsequious media that “fresh water” full of “nutrients” from Lake Okeechobee will be released into our drinking supply water of the river. Stop it. Massive doses of a chemical compound are unsafe at certain levels. Chemicals that can aid plant growing value to dirt, are yet pollutants when dumped in the water. Chemical compounds do not nutritionalize the water, they pollute it. Lake Okeechobee should be cleaned. Clarity of discussion is essential if we are to face this obligation as citizens.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral