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Human Threat from Bay

Human Threat from Bay

The water of the Chesapeake Bay is not only harming the fish and other creatures in the water; they are also causing harm to humans who venture on to the waters. The high level of mercury in the fish, harmful bacteria and neon colored algae are threatening the life of human beings also.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation released this information and said that the pollution was so great that people were being advised not to venture into the waters within 48 hours of a shower.

A ‘save the bay’ program that has been in effect for the last 25 years has failed to secure an effective solution for the problem. The situation has worsened because of the warming of the climate. It has created suitable conditions for the proliferation of deadly bacteria called Vibrio.

The president of the foundation, William C. Baker opined that since clean water laws are not being implemented; there is an increasing danger to human life. However, the director of environmental health coordination, Mr. Mitchell said that the risks were being played up. He said that the agency had not found any evidence of food poisoning from shell fish. However, he also agreed that water activities are best avoided after a rain. This is because people may be exposed to human and animal waste, sewage leaks and septic tank leakages. The risks are increased if the person is suffering from cuts and wounds.

The reports of the bay foundation highlight a number of problems that are arising as a result of pollution:

  • The report found evidence of the dreaded cyanobacteria in 31% of tests. It can cause liver diseases, vomiting and rashes in people when ingested.
  • There was evidence of the presence of Cryptosporidium in the water. It is found in human and animal waste and can cause a number of diseases when ingested.
  • There is even evidence of an increase in mercury in the fish from the bay. It can cause a number of neurological problems and heart diseases. The authorities have asked diners to restrict the consumption of fish from the bay.
  • There are increased cases of Vibrio in the waters of the bay. The change in climate and algae may be contributing to this process. In Virginia, the diagnosed cases have gone from 12 to 30 in nine years. Vibrio may cause serious skin infections, nausea and diarrhea in the patient.

Mitchell however states that there was not enough data to substantiate these warnings. Ken Smith of the Virginia Waterman's Association begs to differ. He had an attack of Vibrio and had to go through several painful days when his arm swelled up to twice its normal size. This was as a result of exposure to the water from Totuskey Creek. Experts say that there has to be something that is helping the growth of the Vibrio bacteria in the waters of the bay.


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