Meat Giants Worst Water Polluters in U.S.
Animal waste is emerging as one of the biggest threats to our water ways (every minute 7 million pounds of excrement are made by animals raised for food in the U.S.)- thanks to corporate agribusiness. A new study released by Environment America shows that Tyson, “released 104 million pounds of pollution into American waterways in 4 years, more than companies like Exxon and Dow Chemical.”
This pollution creates dead zones (hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world’s oceans and large lakes, caused by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water). Currently, the Chesapeake Bay is one of the biggest problem areas (as well as the Long Island Sound and both Lake Erie and to a lesser extent, Lake Michigan). Most likely because it’s surrounded by four major farming states: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. There are around 88,000 farms in the region and they contribute a lot of nitrogen into the watershed. But, it is also damaging our drinking water.
From the article:
“Tyson Foods Inc. and its subsidiaries dumped 104 million pounds of pollutants into waterways from 2010 to 2014 – the second highest volume of toxic discharges reported to [U.S. EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory ]for those years. A substantial portion of Tyson’s discharges are nitrate compounds. Nitrates can contribute to algal blooms and dead zones, and also pose threats to human health, including ‘blue baby syndrome’ for infants.”
Of the top 15 biggest polluters listed in the report, 4 were agribusiness: Tyson, Cargill, Pilgrim’s and Perdue. If we continue to live as if we aren’t backing ourselves into a corner, we run the risk of running out of clean air and water. And water is life. We have made so much progress in the last couple of years but we aren’t done yet. This simply isn’t acceptable.
What can we do? For starters, you can demand better from the companies listed. Write to them. Call them. Tell them they need a different solution. Let them know that polluting our water isn’t going to work for us.
Ready to make an even bigger impact? There are choices. Stop. Eating. Meat. or cut down on meat consumption, eat a more plant based diet and smaller portions (and if you eat meat- please, by all means, only local organic pastured meat where you can check out the farm- it exists everywhere. Too expensive? Not if you eat less like our ancestors did.
That idea might not be for everyone but you can lead a happy and healthy life without it…and the fewer cows we need for meat, the less pollution we will have. Think about it…