Monday, September 3, 2012

The Myth of Farmers, Waterman, Small Towns and No Polution

There is this assumption, based upon a romance of the past I suppose, that small towns are clean, and that the small towns of waterman and farmers must be among the most pure. Maybe not.

 Poor sewage treatment in Chincoteague led to closure of all local shell fish beds.

Fuel tanks with no containment to protect against over fills or tank leakage, right in the middle of a huge wetland. Because it's out-of-sight, perhaps because they cry poor... but this wouldn't fly anywhere else. It seems there is always a sheen in the harbor--all the boats leak and old engines are dumped in the water to stabilize the shoreline.

 Open trash burning, Tangier. Not a problem, since they only burn when the wind is off-shore... towards someone else.

Do they deserve some special dispensation, some special exemption? A small problem in the grand scale of things, I suppose. Over population will kill us first; we'll never invented a person without a footprint, and like rabbits, it's only natural that we will eat and poop and multiply until we kill ourselves. Ugly, but natural.


  1. We went to Tangier again this year as part of our early summer cruise. I love talking with Mr. Parks, but I just shake my head at the piles of old engine blocks under his dock. There are abandoned boats everywhere on the island just rotting away.

    We watched the video in the town museum documenting their efforts to get funding to try and save the island from the effects of settling/sea level rise. I'm sympathetic, but it is hard to justify spending all of that money for the benefit of a few hundred people.

    I think we better enjoy those places while we still can.

  2. Not to make a judgement on the situations you have noted, but it is all a matter of concentration, isn't it? Concentration of humans, that is.

    For example, when the concentration is one family per square mile, as it is over much of the area of the West, heating your house with a wood fire is perfectly acceptable. But when that square mile is occupied by 100,000 families, that heating solution no longer works.

    And for many things, not just heating.

    Perhaps the new catch phrase should be, "The solution to pollution is family planning."


  3. As for "enjoying what we can while we can", that describes much of life. It's finite.

    Another important point to remember is that much local sea level rise is not climate related. Much of the lower Chesapeake is subsiding much more quickly than the average because of an ancient meteor strike centered on Cape Charles City that is still consolidating.

    Another Bay island that may go away is James Island; they are considering converting it into a dredge spoil facility in the next 10 years.


    As for pollution, concentration does make a difference, and the burning may indeed be valid on this island. The small amount of oil leakage is probably not a big factor, as even on close examination the nearby wetlands are flourishing. There is a strong tidal flow. But the closed shellfish beds demonstrate a failure to understand septic tank design and follow good practices (they are starting to install above ground drainage fields, as required in low-lying areas), and the uncontained oil tanks are NOT a small problem. The facility has about 8 tanks practically centered in a wetland.