Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Manure runoff is threat to human health [Letter]

Reducing runoff from over application of manure is not just about preventing algal blooms and dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay ("Farm pollution rule withdrawn," Nov. 18). High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, antibiotic resistant bacteria and animal drug residues in ground water pose a risk to human health. This is especially important on the Eastern Shore where a higher proportion of residents rely on water from private wells, which are not monitored by government agencies. Research by the U.S. Geological Survey has shown that surface and ground water quality in the Delmarva region is highly impacted by the disposal of 42 million cubic feet of manure from the 523 million chickens grown there each year (numbers according to a Delmarva Poultry Industry 2009 Fact Sheet). The people most at risk for health problems due to exposure to pollution from industrial poultry production in Maryland are Eastern Shore residents, including farmers and their communities.

Instead of putting up roadblocks, agribusiness lobbying groups in Maryland should be finding ways to put manure handling policies based on the latest science into practice in a timely manner. In addition, rather than spending taxpayer money on shipping manure throughout the region to reduce levels of phosphorus in soil where it has been over applied for years, the Department of Agriculture should be helping Maryland farmers transition to a food production model that does not pollute the environment and threaten the public's health.

Jillian Fry and Bob Martin, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, project director and program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Support Clean Water Act

    Support Clean Water Act

    On the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a new report from Environment America, "Waterways Restored," highlights the success the law has meant for the Anacostia River, taking it from a state of horrific pollution to giving some hope that it will be safe for swimming and fishing in little...

  • Damming the bay's pollution

    Damming the bay's pollution

    Here's the gist of the recent report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Conowingo Dam: Don't confuse a red herring with a red tide. The notion that all the pollution woes of the Chesapeake Bay could be heaped on one 86-year-old hydroelectric facility on the Lower Susquehanna River was ludicrous...

  • How about aerators to clean up the bay?

    How about aerators to clean up the bay?

    I just read the article about dredging the Susquehanna River, and I couldn't help thinking back to the Seoul Olympics where they used aerators to clean up their filthy water and they got it clean enough that all of the rowing events were held in very safe water ("Study: Dredging little help to...

  • All Maryland's waterways deserve protection

    All Maryland's waterways deserve protection

    The Clean Water Act has brought progress to the Chesapeake Bay, but in order to continue the bay on the path to success we must protect all the waterways in Maryland, including the Anacostia River ("Close Clean Water Act loophole," Nov. 12).

  • Phosphorus rules, finally

    Phosphorus rules, finally

    As we have chided Gov. Martin O'Malley more than once on this page for dragging his feet on regulations intended to reduce the amount of polluting phosphorus pouring into the Chesapeake Bay from farms, it's only fair to herald his decision to move forward with the rules. That he chose to release...

  • Hogan needs to reverse O'Malley's onerous farm rules

    Hogan needs to reverse O'Malley's onerous farm rules

    In what will be seen as one of soon-to-be ex-Gov. Martin O'Malley's parting shots to the incoming Hogan administration, Mr. O'Malley is pushing through new regulations controlling how farmers fertilize their land ("O'Malley rushes to propose new pollution rules," Nov. 15). Never mind the fact that...

Comments
Loading

73°