PSY 100A/Environmental Science
Warner Pacific College
October 22, 2011
In the United States one of the last things on our mind everyday is, how safe is our drinking water? For most of us, we turn on the water faucet and get a glass of water, or turn on the shower head and take our shower. After our reading this week of an article from the New York Times called Clean Water Laws are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering it became very apparent how unsafe some water is in the United States. The question who is, responsible for our water safety and what are they doing to assure our water safety?
For many families in a small town in West Virginia having clean water isn’t something they know about. One family has water shipped in and stores it on their porch for drinking purposes, and their son has to use special lotion after a bath to avoid rashes and sores. By no means should anyone in the United States have to worry about safe drinking water. We pay for our water so we should have the luxury of going to the sink for a glass of water. Seeing there are towns that can’t do this, they turn to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA’s mission states; “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment” (http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/whatwedo.html). For the families in West Virginia they probably feel that the EPA is looking for the environment more than they are for human health. Along with the EPA there is also the Clean Water Act that forces polluters to disclose toxins they dump into water ways and to give regulators the power to fine or jail offenders (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13water.html). Each of these organizations has sets of rules and regulations but it still doesn’t seem to be enough to protect some from the harm. Another aspect of all this is private sectors coming in from the individual states and having a public-private partnership with these bigger government organizations. Like we read in our book, Environment the science behind the stories these private sectors can combine their efforts with the bigger organizations to have rules and regulations set for their individual states as we all have different needs. As is the instance with the West Virginia families they have to battle mining efforts in their area that is causing them the problems with the water, whereas here in the northwest we have the dilemma of waste overflowing into our water.
There are plenty of bad situations that play into this. The fact that there are contaminates that are legally allowed to pass through our water system and the fact that many of the people who are responsible for dumping never face any fines or charges at all. The reasoning for the EPA not wanting to get involved is because it is too hard to prove that the diseases and sickness came from the water and not caused environmental or from the air.
I think it is great we have environmental regulations that are supposed to be followed and organizations to help enforce them as we could have it so much worse, but it seems there needs to be so much more done with environmental regulations to ensure families in our own home don’t have to face such hardships in life. It seems that each state needs to have a private sector for such things to work closely with the major sectors to ensure we all feel safe and happy in our homes. If we can’t depend on environmental regulations and the organizations associated with them then who can we?
DUHIGG, C. (n.d.). Toxic Waters - Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering - Series - NYTimes.com. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13water.html
Our Mission and What We Do | About EPA | US EPA. (n.d.). US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/whatwedo.html
Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. R. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). New York: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.