The toxic soup of chemicals and human waste will probably end up in the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain. And that could bring an environmental disaster to the region hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.
Rodney Mallett, communications director for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, says there really isn’t any alternative to pumping the water into Lake Pontchartrain or the Mississippi River. “I don’t see how we could treat all that water,” Mallett said.
Bio-remediation — cleaning up the water — would require the time and expense of constructing huge storage facilities. That isn’t considered possible since people want the water drained as soon as possible.
– “New Orleans’ toxic floodwater poses environmental threat“
This first article is very troubling. The impact of this immense pollution will encompass nearly every part of the region, contaminating waters, soil, plants, animals and people. The result of this contamination may be one of the lingering aspects of this disaster of nature and human ineptness, especially if this toxic water is released untreated. I hold a faint hope it won’t be, but fear sights are set too much on the short term. For further reading, I’d suggest “Chemicals bigger concern than cholera.”
Not everyone seems to be taking the suffering of the people of New Orleans as seriously as might be expected.
“Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them,” Mrs. Bush told American Public Media’s “Marketplace” program, before returning to her multi-million dollar Houston home.
On the tape of the interview, Mrs. Bush chuckles audibly as she observes just how great things are going for families that are separated from loved ones, people who have been forced to abandon their homes and the only community where they have ever lived, and parents who are explaining to children that their pets, their toys and in some cases their friends may be lost forever.
– “It’s Good Enough for the Poor”
We’re all blessed with our lives, but can we truly say those suffering in New Orleans today are lucky when compared to even the least well off of us looking from outside? It troubles me that people such as Mrs. Bush do not come across as being truly concerned for people suffering and attempt to portray the suffering through rose-colored glasses. Going from being poor to living in the way many in New Orleans are now is not in any way an act of good fortune and we should not try to comfort ourselves with such lies.
I think it’s clear that George Bush and his administration must bear a great deal of responsibility for the harm caused by their slow response to the disaster and their grave misjudgements in taking funding from levee projects years before. What is worrying now is that Bush wants to lead the investigation that should indict himself and members of his administration.
“What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong,” Bush said. “We still live in an unsettled world. We want to make sure we can respond properly if there is a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) attack or another major storm.”
– “Bush to lead investigation into hurricane debacle“
His mention of weapons of mass distruction, an obsession he can’t let go of, it appears, implies to me a disconnection from the present turmoil. Will America now wake up to his dangerous policies too late or allow him to continue with a shrug?
It’s most likely that the recovery of the gulf region will take long enough that people displaced will need to rebuild their lives before that happens. One interesting potential is a migration of African Americans.
Officials have said it will take many months and maybe even years before New Orleans is rebuilt. On Monday, Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley said: “We advise people that this city has been destroyed. We are simply asking people not to come back to this city right now.”
In Houston, which expected many thousands of evacuees to remain for a long time, interviews suggested that thousands of blacks who lost everything and had no insurance will end up living in Texas or states other than Louisiana.
“You’ve got 300,000, 400,000 people, many of them low income without a lot of means, who are not going to have the ability to wait out a year or two or three years for the region to rebuild,” said Barack Obama, the only black member of the U.S. Senate.
– “Could Katrina damage prompt huge wave of black migration?“
The effects of this migration could be far-reaching, and possibly positive in the long term. However, the struggle for so many to rebuild their lives is going to demand a lot of both those people and communities that will take them in. Personally, I’d like to see Canada open up our borders to the immigration of displaced people to help ease the burden on American states and help our own work force.
Among other articles I found of interest are “Clinton: Government ‘failed’ people,” “Anne Rice: ‘During this crisis you failed us’,” and “Too Many People in Nature’s Way.” The most powerful and direct personal response to the aftermath of Katrina has come from Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic candidate I wished to be president.
– “Indifference is a Weapon of Mass Destruction“
My respect for Dennis has only increased after reading his insightful and rare speech; he’s truly of a rare breed of compassionate, intelligent and eloquent politicians. I can only hope America will at last start to look to people of his ilk for leadership.