Last weekend the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo, Ohio, residents was fouled by animal waste ("Lake Erie not alone in suffering from harmful algae," Aug. 6). With the unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it could happen again in our state.
The problem has become pervasive. Waste from chicken farms has rendered the ocean off the East Coast unfit for fishing. Waste from Midwest cattle ranches carried downstream by Mississippi River has created a permanent dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico larger than that of the 2010 BP oil spill.
Animal agriculture dumps more pollution into our waterways than all other human activities combined. The principal pollutants are manure and fertilizers, as well as soil particles, organic debris and pesticides from feed cropland.
Manure and fertilizers promote growths of toxic algae that poison drinking-water supplies. Organic matter feeds microorganisms that deplete oxygen in the water and kill fish.
Effective regulations to limit dumping of animal waste into water supplies have been blocked by the meat industry.
Fortunately, citizens have the power to stop this outrage three times a day by saying "no" to meat and dairy products. Local supermarkets offer ample alternatives. Entering "live vegan" in any search engine provides useful recipes and transition tips.
Bill Canterbury, Baltimore