Advertisement

Maryland's waters still a toxic dumping ground?

Factories and power plants discharged more than 2 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Maryland waterways, according to a new report by Environment Maryland. And three-fourths of that wound up in Baltimore's Curtis Bay, ranking it among the top 50 waterways nationally for toxic discharges.

Drawing on toxic chemical releases reported by industries for 2007, the most recent year available, the environmental group argues that government has not done enough to minimize the health and environmental threats posed by allowing such discharges into the nation's waters.

Advertisement

In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the group notes, the Susquehanna River ranked in the top 20 nationally for receiving toxic discharges, with industries reporting more than 2.6 million pounds released into the water body that supplies half the bay's fresh water. And at the other end of the bay, Virginia's James River received the 6th largest amount of toxic chemicals linked with developmental problems in children.

Toxic discharges are far higher in other parts of the country, the group's report reveals, with the Ohio, New and Mississippi rivers on the receiving end of the most pollution.  And the amounts industry reports discharging have been greatly reduced overall, since they first began reporting such releases two decades ago.

But there's still plenty that could be done in Maryland and the rest of the bay region to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals, argues Environment Maryland's Tommy Landers. He urged state and federal leaders not to skip over toxic pollution as they draw up plans for ramping up the bay restoration effort.  To see the full report, go here.

Advertisement
Advertisement