I’ve known about heavy metals, pesticides, drugs/medicine, chemicals, etc. in America’s water supply for some time, which is why we distill the water we drink at home. However, when I wrote Water, the Democracy versus the Authoritarian Republic, the focus was on which country was doing a better job supplying drinking water to its people—India or China—the topic wasn’t about water contamination, which I knew to be more of a global challenge due to our modern lifestyles.
Before I turn to America’s contaminated soil and fresh water , I want to point out that China’s enemies and/or critics only want to focus on China because their goal is to demonize China and the Chinese and they cannot achieve this when we compare an issue in China such as contaminated soil and fresh water with the same issue in other countries.
Clean Water Act in America
The total land area of America is 9,161,966 square km. and arable land covers 18.01% of that. Irrigated land covers about 230,000 sq km.
The CIA Factbook says of ‘Environment – current issues’ - “air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification.”
The New York Times reported in 2009, “Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from human and animal waste, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.”
Supreme Court Restricts Clean Water Act in the United States
Red Orbit.com, which is an education reference site, says, “Today’s soil contamination is a direct result of man-made chemicals or other changes in nature’s soil environment. This contamination most commonly occurs from underground storage tanks bursting, use of pesticides, discarding oil and fuel illegally, leakage of dirty surface water, draining of wastes from landfalls and knowingly dumping industrial wastes into the soil. The most widespread chemicals found are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, common pesticides, lead and additional heavy metals. This development of contamination is compared with the quantity of industrializations and the severity of chemical usage… Most of the contaminated land has been identified in North America and Western Europe. A legal foundation has been put in place to recognize and handle this environmental issue in many of their countries.
The Truth about Bottled Water – if you are not watching the videos, you are not getting all the facts.
“The United States may have one of the most massive soil contaminations, but is a leader in outlining and executing standards for cleanup. While other industrialized countries have an abundance of contaminated sites, they do not have the remediation the United States has put into place. Thousands of sites undergo cleanup in the U.S. each year. Cleanup is performed by using microbes, excavation and a more costly extraction or air stripping.”
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are more than 450,000 polluted sites like these existing in the U.S… Applications of intensive agricultural techniques, which involve the continuous overuse of fertilizers in any form, have been proven to cause salinity in soil quality due to an imbalance in the soil’s nutrient contents. Accordingly, more than a million hectares (10,000 square miles) of agricultural land have become unfit for the growth and production of agricultural crops.” Source: Bright Bulb.com
Contaminated Drinking Water in California
“In USA, there are 600 000 brown fields which are contaminated with heavy metals and need reclamation (McKeehan, 2000). According to government statistics, coal mine has contaminated more than 19 000 km of US streams and rivers from heavy metals, acid mine drainage and polluted sediments. More than 100 000 ha of cropland, 55 000 ha of pasture and 50 000 ha of forest have been lost (Ragnarsdottir and Hawkins, 2005).” Source: Pub Med Central, Journal of Zhejiang University Science, China, March 2008
You may also want to read up on heavy metal contamination from the U.S. Geological Survey of Contaminants in the Mississippi River.
For a better understanding of what is going on in America, I turn you over to Erin Brockovich for a sampling.
The real Erin Brockovich [Julia Roberts played her in the 2000 movie, Erin Brockovich] has been an American consumer advocate for 19 years and in her own words says, “She is still fighting!”
Brockovich says, “As early as 1965 this company knew that the facility in Hinkley, California was contaminating the ground water with high levels of hexavalent chromium and they chose to cover it up.”
Her current work includes the Gulf Oil Spill. She says, ” I am very concerned about the Oil Dispersant “Corexit” that is being used because some reports are coming in about people getting very sick.”
For the Environment, she says, “There is a new twist in the Cameron, Missouri cancer clusters and activist, Erin Brockovich. Families of cancer patients are now suing a hide tanning plant 37 miles away in St. Joseph.”
You may also want to see “America’s Top 10 Worst Man Made Environmental Disasters” at Earth First.com, or this CBS report on A Toxic Cover Up? by Rebecca Leung at 60 Minutes.
Leung says, “It happened in October of 2000, when 300 million gallons of coal slurry – thick pudding-like waste from mining operations – flooded land, polluted rivers and destroyed property in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. The slurry contained hazardous chemicals, including arsenic and mercury.”
Then there is what On Earth.org calls The Largest Environmental Disaster in U.S. History, which took place in Tennessee. In addition, there is also Pharmaceuticals in Our Water Supplies – Are ‘Drugged Waters’ a Water Quality Threat?
This comment was originally posted at Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 6 on January 31 at 23:34 by an anonymous reader called Bosshard.
Deceit upon deceit?
Dear author, what we find most annoying in the behavior of others are those same behaviors of which we are equally guilty. You appear to dislike: lies, half truths and manipulation.
You have much to learn. Boiling water is good for killing bacteria and the like but does nothing to stave off the ill effects of heavy metals like copper, lead and the like. According to the BBC, at least 10% of all Chinese land is contaminated with heavy metals, which are not rendered inert by boiling. Thus, boiling water in China does no good when these elements are present.
When you made your comment, were you engaging in ““willful deception and a refusal to play by the rules?” when you state that boiling Chinese water is an anti-dote?
And an aside, do you personally drink the same water as the folks in Guizhou or Gansu, or do you purchase bottled water, a thing many of them cannot do?
As for your forgone conclusion that the need for water is greater than that of religion, I would disagree. Freedom of religion is paramount to many souls, just ask the Tibetans who will take their own lives in order to achieve such an end. If I were forced to give up my religion for water, I would not do so.
Please do not pretend to know the mind of the masses when yours may not be as open as you may believe.
This site has much information, but the author, like the Jesuits of old appears to have conjured up a China that he wishes us to believe in. The brutal reality of the communist regime and havoc it brings to its people can best be understood by reading books like Empire of Lies, The Beijing Consensus, Poorly Made in China, The Party, and a host of others.
I will not return to this comment nor website but would like to offer this question:
If you have lived in China, and all of your readers, then you truly know the truth of this place. And if you truly know the truth of this place, then do you think it’s right to knowingly deceive the people about it?
God bless and keep all His children safe and informed.
Continued on February 15 at Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 3 or return to Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.
About iLook China