Comprehensive assessment of fracking threats

18 February 2012

While debate rages in some quarters about the transparency of fracking assessments, a process logged by the Adirondack Mountain Club (north-east NY, USA) provides an example of detailing all the concerns and responses thereto, as shown on their website.  They go to the extent of even listing those who sponsor each issue and links to documentation and officials responsible.  Nice to be able to follow a logical process and not be diverted by press hype and emotive statements for a change!

Minnesota now has 174 rivers on its Impaired Waterways List (its really excellent work on the part of the state that they have a list – a shining example to other officials to get off their backsides and be open about these matters).  I tried to access the link to the list but the post about it was no longer available – but I am sure a bit of Googling will track it down).  Anyone found it yet?

More streams and lakes in the vast St. Croix River watershed have landed on Minnesota’s latest impaired waters list. Forty-two waterways were added this year, bringing the total to 174.

“We’re seeing more waters listed because we definitely are seeing more intensive monitoring,” said Chris Klucas, a St. Croix basin project manager at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “I think the impaired tend to outweigh the unimpaired.”

Water quality in the St. Croix basin has emerged as an urgent concern in recent years because of phosphorous concentrations that threaten the river’s biodiversity. Lake St. Croix, the wider and deeper part of the river from Stillwater to Hastings, joined the state’s impaired list in 2008 after monitoring of water quality showed excess phosphorus had created large oxygen-sucking algae blooms.

Toxic algal blooms are no strangers to Lake Victoria and they are again threatening the livelihoods of artisanal communities that live around the shores of this immense inland sea.

Parts of Lake Victoria shores have been invaded by a thick algae, posing health risks to water users and aquatic animals.  The algae has caused a sickening stench in Luzira, Ggaba, Munyonyo, Guda and Bukakata landing sites among others.

The fishermen, who refer to the chlorophyll substance as ‘Mubiru’, attribute the algae infection to a process where the lake gets rid of any affluent dumped into it naturally.

“It occurs every January and February between 7am-2pm as the lake dumps its waste on the lake shores,” Mr Isaac Mutimba, a fisherman in Entebbe, said.  The National Environment management Authority (NEMA), however, attributes it to increasing pollution of the largest water body in the country.  “The algae mass, which looks like green oil paint on the lake surface, is a result of increased pollution from human disposal and industrial waste,” Ms Naomi Karekaho, the NEMA spokesperson, said in an email. [Source: The Monitor, via WaterWorld].

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