In a battle of the extremes, we were either faced with issues concerning the paucity of water or that of wastage. But now, a new problem has arisen. The drinking water in California is said to be laced with a fatal chemical called TCP. It is used in the manufacture of plastic goods and even the slightest amount of this toxin is sufficient to cause health problems.
So, you can imagine the residents’ predicament when, in the city of Arvin, the water was tested to contain six times the chemical than is considered normal. Topping that bad news is a greater danger, because TCP is carcinogenic in nature, i.e likely to cause cancer. Arvin is a small city with a population of approximately 20,000 people.
Even though the water showed alarming levels of TCP, any correlation between the chemical and its carcinogenic properties is yet to be made. Nevertheless, the residents are looking for a solution that hasn’t presented itself. In order to give them answers, one must first look at the root of the problem. How does this chemical make its way into drinking water?
Two industrial organizations, Dow and Shell, are supposedly responsible for disposing off the affluent by selling it to farmers. They package it as agricultural pesticides, which the farmers then spray on the land. The TCP seeps into groundwater and wells, where it remains for a very long time, undetected and posing danger. Neither of the guilty parties is claiming responsibility for their actions. When it comes to owning up to one’s decisions, everyone is enthusiastic about lathering blame elsewhere.
Reportedly, they are bringing up other organizations for using TCP in their respective products. For the sake of somebody’s convenience, the responsibility towards entire communities is being neglected. The health of so many people is being jeopardized without a care for their treatment. What’s more abhorrent is that these toxins don’t really help kill pests and so, are of no use to farmers. Moreover, they beget the question as to how it affects fauna.
What is the point of investing millions towards developing a state if the basic measures for its waste disposal and water treatment aren’t set straight? The companies are facing multiple law suits, as a way of remedying the problem they have created. They’ve lost several of these lawsuits and have paid certain amounts to various communities. $22 million has been provided to California to treat the contaminated water.
In addition to that, people are given tokens for purchasing filtered water. But what happens when that is not sufficient? Their hard earned money goes down the drain. “One of the lawsuits filed by Robins, on behalf of the Del Rey Community Service District in Fresno County, says the companies knew they could remove or reduce the amount of TCP in their pesticides without compromising its effectiveness but failed to do so.”(“California proposes stringent cap,” 2017)
Apart from California, Hawaii and some other regions also bear the brunt of this negligence, in that, the drinking water isn’t as clean as one would hope. Despite the dire condition of drinking water in Arvin, the residents have very little choice. Don’t you think that the farmers are as much a victim in this case as those facing health hazards?
How long will it take till the water board garners enough support to take an appropriate action?
How many more lives are going to be wasted due to inaction and utter carelessness?
We can only hope for the better and voice our consolation to the people in need.