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Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Orleans Environment - Why YOU Should Care

Shifting gears a little from the toxic problem to the bacteria problem in New Orleans...

This Reuters piece reports there are 22 million tons of contaminated waste (including rotting food waste) in New Orleans. How does this affect you if you're not in New Orleans?

Well, all testing of water and muck in New Orleans documents extremely high levels of pathogens. Most of the tap water is not potable and the Mayor was shown on CNN last night pleading with the State to come down and test the tapwater. The Mayor also said that most of the tap water is not safe to drink. If people drink the water, they can take in a whole lot of things you don't want taken in.

The flood waters that covered New Orleans were filled with sewage. There are many reports saying that there are numerous flies in New Orleans, and that the air smells putrid in many parts of the City. The air smells putrid because of the many pathogens travelling through the air. As we know, flies are also "transporters" of disease that can easily be picked up from this toxic sewage water.

The effects of that are already being seen. According to Doctors treating folks from down there, people exposed to the waters are showing signs of unique infections, and five people have already been reported as having died from exposure to pathogens down there.

Notwithstanding all this, the Mayor is opening up New Orleans, except the flooded areas, for everyone to come back. Bringing 100,000+ people into an environment like that increases the risk of epidemics.

THIS IS A VERY VERY RISKY AND DANGEROUS SITUATION. The more people that return, the greater the odds someone (or some people) pick up a serious infectious disease from the air, water, or bugs. If an epidemic starts down there it could spread to other parts of the country.

What starts in New Orleans won't stay in New Orleans. No one should be allowed back until the area has been tested and cleared to be safe.


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  • We are the New Orleans Environmental Blog Team
  • We are a group of former Congressional staff, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff, and environmental group staff tracking and analyzing the news, in real time, from New Orleans from an environmental health perspective.

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