Friday, February 5, 2010

The Recurring Silent Spring

Silent Spring is written by Rachel Carson and published in September 1962. The book is more about the disadvantageous effects of modern pesticides on our surroundings especially on fish and birds. It will give us some ideas about helping to start the environmental movement and green politics.

In the small city in the middle of America everything was fine and elegant and seemed to be perfect with its surrounding. Then an unexpected blight started in this beautiful area and changed everything. Chickens, Sheep, cows and other animals stared to getting sick and die. There had been several quick and unexplained deaths on the city. The farmer s talked to doctors to find the problem but this mysterious sickness made doctors confused as well as farmers. Also there was another extraordinary problem. All birds were gone and people couldn’t find the reason. Where they go and why they move. The answer to this disaster was chemical poisoning.

The industry started to grow after World War II and using the chemical suddenly rise. For example The DDT in environment can cause thinner on egg shells and make a reproductive problems and death. Also the chemical industry of spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically.

Almost three decade later the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) find a solution to unsolved problems of sickness and death of wildlife, flowers, vegetable, animals, children and adults . EPA evaluates harmful waste sites by the same standard which Silent Spring book was used to present “fable for tomorrow “. Hazardous ranking system was a methodology to identifying the most dangerous hazardous waste sites. It included the category and amount of the hazardous of the chemical which is used on the site, drinking water wells or supplies, verification of the stressed vegetation and ground water, surface water and air. EPA got $1.6 billion fund from congress to rank, investigate and clean up some super dangerous waste sites in the United State on five years.

The super fund program worked very well and got more funds with more number of serious hazardous waste sites to clean up. But one of the criticisms is “so much toxic waste buried, so few sites cleaned up”.

During the time that EPA was focused on its project - hazardous waste program - environment movement was dealing with different problems. There are two main concern (one urban and one rural) on chemical usages in environment. First problem is agricultural pollution. For example farmers pollute their own wells and local water supplies with agricultural chemicals. Unfortunately there are not enough budgets to replace or restore the groundwater or clean up the surface water. The public agency answer to this problem is “do nothing philosophy” and ignore the fact. Second problem is, employing the high level of lead in urban earth in different areas. Scientists on Boston City Hospital on their studies found high level - as high as 1-of lead poisoning on children’s blood. The fact is rate of the blood lead poisoning was different in each neighborhood. Some children which live in the poor region have more exposed to lead from gasoline, leaded paint from housing and the dirt which they use to play with. EPA started a project to remove lead contaminated soil in those properties. They called it Emergency Lead Poisoning Area because of the high amount of lead-poisoned kids.

Two large factions of chemicals are making the majority of pesticides. The chlorinated hydrocarbons (including: DDT, chlordane, heptachlor, dieldrin, aldrin, and endrin) and phosphorus insecticides which are directly linked to the poisonous nerve gases used in World War II. They affect the nervous system of their subject such as insect, birds, animals and humans.

One of the important subject that Carson is concern about is the risk of the pesticides water especially ground water. In fact, ground water can count as an underground sea which is getting recharged by rain and snow. Rain will pass the poisoned soil to get underground and take the poison to the water.

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