Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chesapeake Bay: "As Dead As the Face of the Moon"

Frontline's 2-hour special, "Poisoned Waters" is not exactly light end-of-summer fun...unless you like horror stories. But if you love the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac, it's a highly disturbing must-watch program. As we reach the end of beach season, it seemed worth passing along.

The first hour uses our area as an example of the problems facing numerous water systems: pollution and dead zones due to sewage and runoff (sections 3&4), including a vast array of new contaminants like endocrine disruptors that are unregulated by the EPA (sections 5&6). The local examples pick back up at 1h30min, with case studies of development in "ecological disaster" Tyson's Corner and successful citizen action to slow development in Loudon County (section 12). The good news continues with "showcase for smart growth" Arlington (section 13).

One of the closing quotes:

"The estuaries and the wetlands are worth vastly more money than we have acknowledged. If we could calculate and persuade the public how valuable the wetlands are in terms of the web of life, we would be guarding them like the family jewels, instead of using them as our great sewage dump."