01 June 2015

Environmental problems linked to health concerns

We regularly hear stories about how environmental problems link to health problems. Think: increased car usage and asthma rates, ozone depletion and skin cancer. But this story still caught me off guard.

The Washington Post warns that scientists are concerned that the artificially created Salton Sea is now drying up in a way that could spark a health crisis. The Salton Sea has always seemed disgusting. The Post describes it as, "Created by accident more than a century ago and fed largely by agricultural runoff, the Salton Sea is a difficult place to champion." So who cares if it is the first major casualty of the California drought in 2017 when it gets cut off from its current source?

Aside from the loss of habitat, the new playa could have other results:
Choking clouds of particulate matter driven by powerful desert winds could seed health problems for 650,000 people as far away as Los Angeles. The effects would be even worse along the lake, where communities already fail federal air-quality standards and suffer the highest asthma rates in the state.
 I would love to see a map of the potential public health problems created by letting the Salton Sea go dry. and, of course, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is an alternative. This drought is going to be a killer.

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