Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Ocean’

I filmed a video for my YouTube channel a couple of days ago on Peregrine Falcons (the link to my channel is below), how they are thriving and nesting on tall buildings, and how various people/groups have set up live-streaming cameras so that all of us can check in on the nests and see what is going on.

One of the major events that have allowed Peregrine Falcons to thrive was the banning of insecticides in the 1970s, and one big one was the banning of DDT in 1972. Once the chemical was banned in the USA, several groups of dedicated people including scientists and falconers worked incredibly hard to help bring the Peregrine Falcon population back up to a healthy level.

Well, the DDT story is not over. While active use of DDT no longer occurs in the USA, there is still DDT in this country. DDT can persist in the environment for a very long time, and so it can still be found in water and soil. Some of this contamination is from runoff from when DDT was used to control insects. But some of this contamination is coming from sites where chemicals such as DDT were intentionally dumped.

A discarded, leaking barrel sits 3,000 feet underwater near Catalina.
A partly corroded barrel sitting approximately 3,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean near Santa Catalina Island (Photo Credit: The LA Times).

One such dump site may have been found off the coast of southern California. As reported in the LA Times, researchers have found more than 25,000 barrels of chemicals sitting about 3,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean near Santa Catalina Island! This likely represents a dumpsite that was used for years to dispose of unwanted chemicals, and the full extent of site was not determined because the barrels extended beyond the edges of the survey area! These barrels are suspected of holding DDT and other chemicals. DDT has been detected in the waters around southern California, it has been found to accumulate in the tissues of dolphins, and has been linked to aggressive forms of cancer in California Sea Lions.

Cleaning these barrels up is going to be a major undertaking. Leaving them in place is not an option because of the lasting health impacts of that much DDT poses a serious threat to a wide range of species (including humans) over a wide geographic area. The barrels themselves are corroded and breaking them apart as they are lifted will be a real danger.

Dealing with sites like this are a stark reminder that we humans have made tremendous mistakes. Many of these mistakes have been in how we have dealt with the natural environment. These mistakes, like dumping barrels of chemicals in the ocean, have left a legacy that we are dealing with today. We must be ready to admit the mistakes of the past. We must be ready to take actions to fix those mistakes. We must be ready to commit the needed money to make these actions a reality. If we are able to do these things, we can experience more recoveries like that of the Peregrine Falcon where it went from almost extinct to almost common, and we will better preserve the vital biodiversity of this planet.

Thanks for visiting my blog. If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a couple of options:

Become a follower of this blog!

View and subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »