The Most Polluted Places

When I opened up my computer this morning to check my email, MSN Today popped up and there was a heading about the 9 Most Polluted Places in the United States and what actions were being taken to clean  them up.  There are 3 places for each air, water and land. Some of these places have received a lot of publicity, and most likely if you’ve taken an introductory environmental science class, you have heard about them. They’re nearly as famous as The Love Canal. There is the Gulf of Mexico that receives massive amounts of pollution from the drainage of the Mississippi River leading to algae blooms which leave the area void of oxygen and life.  And there is also The Nelson Tunnel, in Creede, Co. This particular story reminded me of our home, here in Alaska.

The Nelson Tunnel

The Nelson Tunnel

The Nelson Tunnel sits on five acres in the Historic Creede Mining District, about one mile North of Creede, Colo. In 2008, the Nelson Tunnel became a Superfund site, the name given to the environmental program run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that deals with cleaning abandoned hazardous waste sites.

The creek eventually feeds into the Rio Grande River, a gold medal fishery four miles below the Nelson Tunnel. Creede is known as a beautiful recreation area and many fishermen come there to enjoy the fishing. But pollution spilling into the creek has affected the fish population in West Willow Creek. There are no fish for a two-mile stretch below the site, and fish are sparse farther downstream in West Willow Creek. It’s thought that the metal contamination has affected their reproduction.

Hmmm…Does that sound like something that could, possible already has happened in Alaska? I am reminded of Mufasa from the Lion King. He tells Simba about the circle of life. He eats gazelles, then he dies and fertilizes the ground. The gazelles eat the grass, therefore eating him. Ahhh! We live in an ecosystem!

The story is evidently in lieu of Earth Day…Happy Earth Day? Why is there just one day a year that we give thanks to our Mother? If we lived every day as earth day, we might not have to go all out one day a year and try to convince ourselves that we are doing our part. We also might not have near as many superfunds or spoiled watersheds, or rotten air. Just a thought.


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