Swimming in Baltimore's Inner Harbor?
A local group wants to make Baltimore's harbor swimmable and fishable within a decade, The Baltimore Sun reports.
The Waterfront Partnership, a nonprofit group funded by a tax surcharge on commercial properties along the harbor, plans to unveil its proposal this week for "floating wetlands" that filter and oxygenate polluted water and other projects from installing urns for cigarette butts to adding trees and native plants.
If Baltimore's polluted water can be made safe for swimmers and anglers, they say, it would be the most dramatic change to the harbor since it was transformed from rotting wharves and banana boats in the 1950s to an urban playground and tourist destination 30 years later. The goal is to show tangible ways that can help put Baltimore at the forefront of American cities cleaning up their harbors.
"Downtown Chicago has a beach… Why can't we?" said Laurie Schwartz, executive director of the partnership. "Just think, to not only stand at the edge of the harbor but to dangle your feet in the water and jump in."
Though its shoreline has been rejuvenated with shops, hotels, office buildings and condominiums, Baltimore's harbor is currently littered with trash and tainted by sewage leaks and a variety of other runoff pollutants from city streets. The bottom sediments are riddled in places with toxic metals and chemicals, many the legacy of the harbor's industrial past.
Washington Post editors
| April 22, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories: Maryland | Tags: Baltimore, Environment, Maryland, Water pollution
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