Again, it’s a money issue. The FWC has stated that mechanical harvesting is used less for weed control because it is more expensive than chemicals.
Our thanks to Andy Marlette and the Pensacola News Journal for permission to reprint their manatee cartoon.
Read the original article here in the Gainesville Sun.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Stop poisoning Florida’s waterways
The Gainesville Sun, April 22, 2021
Graham Cox Guest columnist In a recent editorial cartoon, Andy Marlette squarely pointed the finger for the
deaths of many of Florida’s manatees on our widespread use of commercial herbicides, specifically aiming at Roundup and its prime ingredient — Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) glyphosate.
We were warned by Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ in 1962 about the mounting dangers of the widespread use of a long list of deadly pesticides, including DDT. This was 10 years before glyphosate was invented, yet we must ask why we keep making the same mistakes over and over.
Environmental economists argue we should apply the precautionary principle to our decision making — that is, if we do not know for sure what the impacts will be on the environment and the creatures within, then we should not do it.
The picture is different now: We do know what the adverse impacts are of spraying herbicides, glyphosate included, enough to know the effects are not good for humans and for all life on Earth.
So let’s look at the headlines from recent studies to show how widespread are the dangers of continuing to spray pesticides, specifically glyphosate products, on our fields, orchards, waterways and lawns:
Marine Pollution Bulletin #85, 2014, told us that glyphosate persists in seawater.
Progressive Radio Network, Sept. 14, 2015, reviewing the latest Carey Gillam book,
‘The Monsanto Papers: Deadly secrets, corporate corruption , and one man’s search for justice,’ says: ‘Over the years a large body of independent research has accumulated and now collectively provides a sound scientific rationale to confirm that glyphosate is far more toxic and poses more serious health risks to animals and humans than Monsanto and the U.S. government admit.’
The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Feb. 27, reported : ‘Tens of thousands of acres of seagrass that is critical to the health of the Indian River Lagoon have disappeared. It’s threatening a number of species, including manatees, who depend on seagrass for food.’
Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland State University), March 18, says: ‘Pesticides used on forests and in other applications have been found in watersheds along the Oregon Coast, raising concerns that aquatic species may be exposed to a toxic mixture of chemicals.’
The Center for Biological Diversity on March 19 reported : ‘A scientific study published this week concludes that Florida manatees are chronically exposed to glyphosate because of application of the pesticide to sugarcane and aquatic weeds. The study found glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp and the world’s most-used pesticide, in the plasma of 55.8% of the Florida manatees sampled.’
Florida Phoenix, April 1, tells us ‘Herbicide used in FL as a cure-all is more like a kill-all.’ It continues: ‘Florida anglers have been protesting the rampant spraying and its environmental consequences. Turns out the loss of fishing is making them ‘rattlesnake-mad,’ so they’ve been pushing state agencies to put down the RoundUp spray wand and walk away. A change.org petition they launched called ‘Stop the State-sanctioned Poisoning of Our Lakes and Rivers!’ has attracted more than 178,000 signatures.’
Let’s round this out by looking again at the Indian River Lagoon. A draft paper by local fisheries scientist Dr. R. Grant Gilmore concludes: ‘There now is abundant evidence that herbicides not only kill plankton and plants on which our indigenous aquatic animals depend for survival, they produce a nutrient load from decaying plant and animal bodies that increases the nutrient (nitrate/phosphate/ammonia) burden in the water column….
Graham Cox, Ph.D., lives in Sebastian. An ecological economist, Cox helps raise funds for Pelican Island Audubon Society’s after-school lagoon science education project.