Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

03 June 2010

Someone send City Hall a dictionary

Apparently "could" and "should" are being mixed up.

The EPA has told Chicago that the Chicago River should be cleaned up to a level where people could swim in it.  The EPA didn't say we should all jump into the Chicago River, but Da Mayor told the Feds to go swim in the Potomac.

Of course the EPA just wants the Chicago River, which is increasingly becoming a place for Chicagoans to canoe and kayak, to be clean enough for people to enjoy. I ran into a friend a few weeks ago and she looked amazing. Her secret? She's rowing. On the Chicago River. She said it stinks like hell, but her guns are loaded! Why is it such a terrible thing for the EPA, hell our own mayor to think that the river should be clean enough that we wouldn't need a series of tetanus shots if we fell in?

For instance, Chicago is the only major U.S. city that doesn't disinfect wastewater before pumping it into waterways. As a result, wastewater pouring out of the district's North Side Treatment Plant contains bacteria levels that are more than 400 times higher than those in disinfected wastewater that Philadelphia pumps into the Delaware River.

Levels of microscopic organisms in the Chicago River also are significantly higher than what Illinois allows in other waterways. Until now, though, pollution standards have been less strict for the Chicago River because it was assumed that people wouldn't come near it.

After five years of study and two years of debate, the federal EPA concluded the river can be restored and made more pleasant for people. "All of us want to see this environmental turnaround continue," the agency said in a statement. [link]
 While Chicago officials are looking up "should" and "could" they should also look up SHAMEFUL because I think their pictures are being installed there. One reason why the river shouldn't cleaned up, according to Chicago officials, is that people will drown!
Richard Lanyon, the district's general superintendent, also cited the death last month of Cashmere Castillo, an 8-year-old boy who tumbled into the river while playing a game of tag. Cashmere could not swim.

"The EPA's misguided advocacy would place additional lives at risk because the waterways are not safe for swimming," Lanyon said.
Shameful to use the name of a boy just lost to the river to prop up a dumb idea that if we cleaned the river it would lead to more deaths. The murkiness of the river led to rescuers at the momenet Cashmere fell in from finding him once he slipped into the water. The murkiness of the river lead to the lengthy recovery of his body. Yet, a clean river would be dangerous.

There's something to be said about such arrogance of public officials. But underneath it all, just under the tiny surface is that clear message from public officials that the Chicago River is a sewer and we need to just suck it up. Hopefully your canoe doesn't tip over while you're sucking.

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