January 15, 2013


Not only by cell phones and internet. Above ground the whole of Everglades is connected and the water in it flows ! Unlike our forefathers considered it, it is not a stagnant swamp. And being the ‘sponge’ that Floridian peninsula is, even below the ground there is streaming in our aquifers that occasionally show off as sparking-clean springs. The fact of these flowing fresh waters changes the whole picture, our lives and of everything living around us.
Those flowing waters are all interconnected – just as WE are all connected with cars, planes, trains – and wired electronically with phones, radio, TV and, of course, the internet. What’s done “up North” affects the South – and vice versa, the same for East and West and points in between. Our life-blood, the essential primary ‘elements’ as they used to be labeled - AIR and WATER are taken for granted. But granted they are NOT. We need to be mindful of the fact that our resources, our water in particular, are NOT infinite. Remember – the Spaceship Earth ! When water is spoiled in one location, the affliction travels – and affects us all. This world is so small and getting smaller as we people rub elbows and bump into each other (right around the globe). We cannot afford dumping our pollution into our precious fresh-water.

Control that cattle - and its wastes
Waterflows become a very effective medium, eventually spreading the pollution that then travels, spreads and affects us all. It is infinitely more difficult (and expensive) to purify all that contaminated water when it is on the loose and reaches the environment around us as it moves, flows and spreads. We need to contain and remove our pollution early and ‘upstream’ before it spreads and becomes the creeping non-point source contamination as the science calls it. Long ago did we reach the point of thoroughly overwhelming mother nature’s ‘self-cleansing’ capabilities. No more of relying on that. We have to clean up. Appropriate BMPs can help - when enforced.

Control the fertilizer application
Agriculture manages to feed our exploding numbers by using huge quantities of fertilizers. Unfortunately, a great portion of these end up in water and wreak havoc on the environment – agricultural run-off making for a typical and significant non-point pollution source. To counter its deleterious effects, a multi-prong approach would make sense:
- Upstream: Develop, apply and enforce strict farm BMPs (Best Management Practices) including more effective use of more effective fertilizers, control of fertilizer applications, enforce the edge-of farm water collection, treatment and recycle. Naturally, the best is to prevent contamination in the first place.
Control and prevent agri run-off
- Downstream: Apply the best and most effective technology of P removal on an appropriate scale. Currently this is based on constructing and operating STAs. Develop radically new technologies particularly for Phosphorus removal (and recovery if feasible).
- Establish and enforce clean-up policies – and determine who pays for them.
It can be expected that such logical and necessary measures become a hot issue in the State of Florida with agricultural business and even industrial lobbies, state agencies and environmentalist NGOs working overtime just like we have seen it in case of the numerical water quality criteria introduction. However, the writing on the wall is clear – no way to keep living as we have. Let’s face it, no way to stop progress as it creeps and flows just like that water contamination everywhere. And remember – all is connected. Flow with it, clean up - for nature’s sake, for our survival sake, for our children’s sake. Our generations are connected.