From Sea to Shining [Don’t Drink That!]

This morning, many Americans are waking up to the dangers of murky water.

In the inner city, it is not uncommon to see murky tap water, and boiling it ahead of time is the safest thing to do. But for the last three days, all Bostonians are getting a taste of that pre-boiled water.

Because of a pipe leak that occurred on Saturday morning, Boston is now in a “water emergency.” All water used for consumption (drinking, washing veggies, brushing teeth, etc) must now be boiled beforehand, or be bottled water.

You may wonder, “So what’s the big deal? Just boil your drinking water for a few days.” For most people, that is true. But for large campus dining halls, hospitals, and farms on the outskirts of the city, finding enough water for everyone takes strategy.

Many dining halls are shipping in bottled water and ice (to cool the boiled water). The bottles go to students, while the boiled water goes to washing veggies and boiling food for the meals. Hospitals are cleaning their tools with sanitation wipes and even have to boil water for their lab mice. Farmers are trading bottled water for animals and food.

What’s worse, there was no coffee! Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts (a Boston staple) had to stop making coffee, along with dining halls and even hospitals, where doctors have to stay awake through emergency surgeries at 3am. Students in the middle of finals have fled to nearby Cambridge, which did not have water problems (snobs), to grab the needed coffee to get them through. Only in America do we need coffee more than water. Well, or at least we think we do.

In the Gulf, the recent oil spill has brought fumes to shore. While the odor is not a serious medical risk, it can be dangerous for people with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Of course, Louisiana’s fishermen, shrimp trawlers and oystermen have seen their businesses completely destroyed by the slick. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is on call, waiting to take in sea turtles and dolphins hurt by the spill.

Add to all of this a declining water pipe infrastructure around the country, and the danger of the flood waters still sitting dormant in the Tennessee Valley, and we have some really murky water.

Join in!

What’s the dirtiest water you’ve ever seen?

What can Americans do to grow in respect for our water sources and purification?

2 Responses to “From Sea to Shining [Don’t Drink That!]”
  1. jpothen says:

    “What can Americans do to grow in respect for our water sources and purification?”

    Education I think. Perhaps a “World Water Day” if we don’t have something like that already. But Nat Geo’s big feature is a good first step, but we really need to make the global challenges a mainstream issue.

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