Stop. Look. Think. Act. Now. / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk, Wendy Harris

shellfish safety map

Click on the graphic above to view the WA State Dept. of Health Shellfish Safety Map

Yesterday at 4:24pm  May 6, 2016  Wendy Harris

We are all dancing while the Titanic is sinking. Whatcom County is the only Puget Sound county that has a complete marine biotoxin closure zone for every shellfish species, and our zone is wider and more encompassing that any other shoreline county. Right now, the shellfish is safer in Hood Canal.

We have two kinds of biotoxins blooming at our beaches. PSP (red tide) and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) from Okadaic Acid.

Here is what the Health Department tells us about DSP:

“It is normal for biotoxin producing algae to be present in marine water, usually in low numbers that cause no problems. The algae that produces the DSP toxin has been detected in Washington’s marine waters for some time, but has not produced toxin. That changed in June 2011 when the first confirmed DSP illnesses were reported (three people became ill after eating recreationally harvested mussels from Sequim Bay), and testing confirmed shellfish were contaminated with the toxin. Although DSP has been a problem in European countries for some time, this is an emerging health threat for Washington. New information will be shared as it becomes available.”…/Biotox…/DiarrheticShellfishPoisoning

I was not aware of this situation, were you? In fact, it is not readily clear from the public announcement that we have two types of biotoxins in our waters rights now.

Exactly what is it going to take to understand the significance of our pollution problems and DEMAND that our local government take action????

We are told Whatcom county is a healthy county.The maps I have been posting over the last couple of days show a different story but have gathered little attention. Has no one noticed that we have almost constant smog now? Just look at the mountain ranges and you can see this. And these maps are painting a picture of water contamination problems that are out of control, both with regard to marine water and freshwater, surface water and groundwater. And we are not even testing for all the pollutants that we should, such as herbicides, fungicides, farm chemicals, nitrates, etc.

We are living in the hollows of Washington state, uniformed and out of touch with appropriate standards and regulations that are imposed in other places. We are destroying our environment at an alarming rate, while property rights ideologues, self serving farmers and the development industry prevent any meaningful change.

These maps are at odds with everything we are being told about how safe and healthy it is here and should be an immediate call to arms. And in the middle of the comp. plan update and the CAO update, we are in the best situation to make changes. We need more turn-outs like we had last week at the council hearing so that council understands we want improvements in the full ranged of environmental problems we face.

Read Wendy’s post in the Whatcom Hawk Facebook group here.

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