by Elisabeth Powell
Widener University Environmental Politics and Policy Student
It should be a major priority to clean up superfund sites. It is ridiculous that it has taken this long for something to get done with the Gowanus Canal. This canal is very old and dumping by factories and untreated sewage by the city drains caused most of the pollution. It seems like it was a free for all dumping ground for Brooklyn. Benson metal has to pay $85,000 because they were dropping metal into the canal; Petroleum Tank Cleaners on Butler Street has been fined $32,500 for a spill and other violations. Surprisingly, a bus company has been fined over $500,000 for oil spills and other illegal dumping.
People just do not respect the waterway in this city, while the city is trying to clean it up, more people are trying to cut corners to save a buck. There are hazardous metals in the water such as mercury, lead, and an elixir of industrial chemicals and traces of pesticides. The combination of cutting corners and saving money for big business, the clean up is going to be 8-10 years and maintenance will go on forever. Was it really worth it? The contamination in some parts goes 100 feet deep! Not only is that a lot of man power to clean this canal up, it is going to take a lot of energy to do so; which costs the environment in another sense. And when the clean up is all said and done, how long is it going to stay clean? There should be a register list for businesses that illegally dump, like the sex offender list but dumping violators. Heavy fines should be put in place for life for these violators.