indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Jim Kent: Putting a stop to pollution of our waters and our lands

Filed Under: Environment | Health | Opinion
More on: climate change, energy, jim kent, lakota country times, south dakota, superfund, water
     
   

Mni Wiconi -- Water is Life. Photo by Joe Brusky / Overpass Light Brigade

Water, Land & Air Pollution – We’re All Connected
By Jim Kent
Lakota Country Times Columnist
lakotacountrytimes.com

As I received my third message in as many hours about massive pollution sites across the country I was reminded of legendary oceanographer and scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who once observed “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”

A few decades later we, sadly, need to add “land” to the equation.

Widespread pollution - in spite of government agencies, environmental organizations and front-line activists – is still a global concern…even in “the world’s most developed nation”.

And though we may be in better shape than many countries around the world, we’re certainly not in a position to hold our heads above the rest…even if the weight from issues like the Dakota Access Pipeline would allow us to.

For example: the Mississippi River dumps 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico each year; one trillion gallons of untreated sewage and industrial waste is dumped into U.S waters each year; more than half of U.S. solid waste (110 million tons) is dumped in landfills each year - making us one of the top contributors to worldwide landfill waste, Go, team.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the 1322 Superfund sites that affect land, air and water and occur in every state of the union - from 105 in New Jersey to 1 in Nevada.

South Dakota’s near the bottom of that “Top 50” list with just 2 locations of mega-contamination: the former Gilt Edge Mine site in Lawrence County (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, silver and zinc runoff) and Ellsworth Air Force Base (dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene, arsenic and chromium).

Aren’t you glad you live in the wide-open spaces?

But with the continued push to build more oil pipelines across the country and the ongoing question of what to do with the 75,000 tons of radioactive waste sitting in pools and dry casks at nuclear power plants, you know it’s “the wide-open spaces” that always look most appealing when powerbrokers are looking for impending environmental disaster locations away from their friends and neighbors.

And that’s not to mention the “contaminated areas but not quite bad enough…yet…to be listed as Superfund sites” that we have no idea exist. Like the 53 locations currently awaiting a determination on whether they’ll be added to the Superfund sites list.

Between the enormous waste dumps in every state, the 500 crude oil and natural gas pipeline spills every year, the estimated one million bushels of garbage thrown out of car windows by Americans each year, the 40 percent of American rivers and 46 percent of American lakes too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life, the 73 different kinds of pesticides found in U.S. groundwater that eventually end up in our drinking water (unless we filter) and the 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, groundwater, and industrial waste discharged into U.S. waters annually…I’m amazed that we’re alive.

Truly.

I’m not surprised that so many of us are sick – especially with illnesses our doctors “can’t quite figure out” or have to test and re-test for without finding an answer.

In fact, even known illnesses like lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage and developmental and reproductive harm continue to be a threat to 166 million Americans due to unhealthy air – according to the American Lung Association.

Right. Air pollution. That was one of the first environmental issues tackled in this country. So what’s happened?

The American Lung Association states that at the same time the pendulum has swung toward the positive in clean-up, it’s shifted toward the negative due to climate change, wildfires and drought – all of which cause increased short-term particle pollution in the air and affect public health.

Nor does it matter where you live. Just as we’re all related, we’re all connected – folks in California regularly breathe in air pollution from Beijing.


Visit the Lakota Country Times and subscribe today

So what’s the solution? Everything we’ve already heard but don’t do because we’re too lazy or allow our politicians not to do because we trust “Bobby’s smile” over the reality around us.

Alternative energy. Fuel-efficient cars. Cleaner fuels. Emissions testing. Recycling. Reduce pesticides. Don’t litter. Use less plastic. Green agricultural practices. There are countless pages of suggestions on line.

But the most important recommendation is to speak up: to your spouse, your neighbor, your mayor, your governor, your U.S. Congressional team and, especially, to that dope sitting next to you who just threw his pop bottle out the car window.

Just like forest fires…only you can prevent pollution.

(Jim Kent is a freelance writer and radio producer who lives in Hot Springs. He is a contributing columnist to the Lakota Country Times and former editor of The New Lakota Times. He can be heard on South Dakota Public Radio, National Public Radio and National Native News Radio. Jim can be reached at kentvfte@gwtc.net)

Find the award-winning Lakota Country Times on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter and download the new Lakota Country Times app today.


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (3/23)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care gains ignored in political debate (3/23)
Native Sun News Today: Young fighters maintain Lakota tradition (3/23)
Ivan Star Comes Out: America loses its self-respect and humanity (3/23)
Rosalyn LaPier: Why water remains sacred to indigenous peoples (3/23)
Winona LaDuke: North Dakota spreads filth about water protectors (3/23)
Harold Monteau: Tribal governments are abusing their own people (3/23)
Alex Jacobs: Donald Trump in middle of the 'deep state civil war' (3/23)
Secretary Zinke announces 'doggy days' for Interior Department (3/23)
Keystone XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
Indian lawmaker resigns after being charged for child prostitution (3/23)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation buys site of long-delayed casino project (3/23)
High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
National Indian Gaming Association honors Native casting director (3/21)
Native Sun News Today: Whiteclay liquor sales up for review again (3/21)
James Giago Davies: It's time to take a trip to the Great Upstairs (3/21)
Smith and Wakefield: Obamacare repeal is bad for Indian Country (3/21)
Steve Russell: Domestic status of Indian nations invented in 1831 (3/21)
Steven Newcomb: Pope Francis must address domination legacy (3/21)
Tulalip Tribes install 1st leadership board with women in majority (3/21)
Osage Nation passes referendum to legalize same-sex marriage (3/21)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe returns to court to seek federal recognition (3/21)
Lawmakers pushing for federal recognition of six tribes in Virginia (3/21)
Cowlitz Tribe casino seen as impacting lottery revenues in Oregon (3/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.