A gulf-size crisis in the Chesapeake
By Hilary Jacobs
The June 3 Metro article “Future of Chesapeake Bay back in focus” quoted William C. 8Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, as saying: “We have a gulf oil spill right here on the Chesapeake every day. Almost a million pounds of nitrogen flows into the bay every day.”
As BP’s Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico continues to leak, Americans are continually shocked by the environmental impacts. The Gulf of Mexico spans 600,000 square miles — a massive body of water touching five states, Mexico and countless islands. People are in awe at the scale of this devastating oil spill, but as Mr. Baker pointed out, comparable amounts of pollutants enter the bay daily. While the impacts of these pollutants are less immediate and obvious, they are nevertheless hugely detrimental to the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake’s watershed.
As one of the most iconic and scenic waterways in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay begs for our protection. Factory farm pollution is a leading source of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment, much of it due to animal manure.
In Maryland alone, the poultry industry disposes of more than 300,000 tons of excess manure annually, which results in more than 4,000 tons of pollution. We must hold all polluters accountable for their waste in order to help clean and preserve the bay.
The writer works at Environment Maryland, an advocacy organization.
| June 4, 2010; 8:42 PM ET
Categories: Chesapeake Bay, HotTopic, environment
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