Pollution Awareness for Maui
(ORIGINAL POSTING FOUND AT MY BLOGGER)
Earlier this morning in my marine biology class, our presentations for our semester projects were due. I chose to do my presentation on Pollution Awareness.
Basically, a lot of people really are NOT fully aware of how every single day they are polluting the Earth and Oceans in some way.
I started my presentation with Ocean Acidification. Ocean acidification is when there is too much CO2 being released into out atmosphere and when our atmosphere touches the ocean (yes, it literally touches the ocean) it mixes with the water and basically makes an acid.
CO2 + H2O = H2CO3
Whenever we burn off oil or gas or coal or cane, we emit CO2 into the air. Even small things like smoking can pollute our air (and it’s bad for your health). This picture shows how Maui makes its sugar cane. Cane needs to be dried then burned to make the sugar in the processing plant. But what bugs me a lot is that sugar cane isn't even a native plant to Hawaii! So why do we keep growing it and burning it???
The second thing I presented was wastewater. Here in Maui County, only 3 million of the 15 million gallons or wastewater is reused. For things such as golf courses, landscaping, construction, and even flushing the toilet. But what I never found out was Why they were only using a little of the lot they have reclaimed when Maui is in need on water
My thought was maybe that they really were NOT coming up to standard with their wastewater purity. But that is just my thought.
The other 12 million gallons of wastewater that is not used goes down an injections well.
An injection well is a way for reclaimed water to be dispelled when there is too much of it. (but like I said, why are we only using 3 million gallons of the 15 million when there is such a need for water here on Maui?) The way an injection well works is there is a pipe that goes about 300 feet down into the Earth near a coast line and the water is then leaked out naturally through the sediment and out into the ocean. BUT! Since the wastewater is fresh water, and it’s being injected near the coast which is salt water, the wastewater practically shoots back up to the surface! (Freshwater is less dense than salty seawater, so it rises quickly when mixed).
(There’s a line that former mayor of Maui, Alan Arakawa, said in an interview.
“If we lived in places like Saudi Arabia or any of those countries, where water is much more difficult to find; We wouldn’t be wasting a drop of it.”
So why are we still wasting that extra 12 million gallons by putting it down injection wells? I need to find out…)
In wastewater, there is a LOT of nitrogen and phosphorus still present, so when that water gets leaked into the ocean, marine algae (seaweeds) have a good ol’ time and feed off of these high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus and that is when you get algae blooms! (An unnatural growth in marine algae). Too much algae in the water smothers the corals and kills the teeny tiny polyps inside by blocking out the sun. (Sorry for my lack of pictures in this area. The only pictures I have are from California, and I don't want to put it up on a Maui blog).
Another thing about the wastewater here is that the sewage treatment doesn’t always get rid of pathogens and viruses in the wastewater. People have even gotten staph infections from swimming in the waters near the injection wells! So nasty…
After going on about the wastewater, I moved onto the problem of plastic.
In an ocean environment, plastic IS poison. Plastic does NOT degrade.It just gets smaller and smaller to a point where it starts to absorb toxic chemicals. Wild life, such as birds and fish, mistake the pretty colors from the bits of plastic as a food source and ingest them.
(Now, I know I like eating fish. But not fish with bits of toxic plastic in them).
Everyday, someone uses a “disposable plastic” and that plastic will either get thrown into the landfill where it will never degrade, or out into the ocean, where a bird or fish might ingest it. Even turtles have been seen eating plastic mistaking it for jellyfish!
Plastic IS poison. So remember. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle WHENEVER POSSIBLE!
After my speech on the plastic, I moved onto my last topic of awareness, which was Run-off.
Run-off is just basically anything from fertilizer, plastics, styrofoam, animal poop, soap from washing your car and laundry, fast food wrappers, paper cups and construction materials like wood chips, concrete, MORE plastic, nails and even caulking!
I don't understand how people can NOT see what it is that is going on in our environment. Even here on Maui!
Even the little things here. Like at Minit Stop!
Spam musubi is like, the favorite snack here. But what do places like Minit Stop use to wrap spam musubi in? Saran wrap! Where do they put their rubbish saran wrap? In the trash! Where does that trash go? To the landfill! Where it will NEVER degrade. And eventually that saran wrap WILL make its way out to the ocean one way or another.
Now think... If you, your friends and your family love to eat musubi, that is a LOT of saran wrap going into the trash.
Do you see the pattern here??
I hope people read this and at least try to delve a little deeper into what they can do to help the environment. Especially here at home on Maui! We have such a delicate ecosystem here and it IS in jeopardy.
Any comments, questions, thoughts or opinions are very welcomed. I have an open mind, so please don't hesitate to say something!
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