Rethinking our old ways

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Without provincial or federal legislation to the contrary, municipalities are free to direct raw, untreated sewage into the ocean for the tides to take care of, begging the question: is this right or is this wrong?
Bowing to strong opposition from environmentalists, the State of Florida is now on track to curb dumping sewage into its oceans. Nova Scotia, on the other hand, is not.
It's a given that were a municipality to toss raw sewage onto a field or in the middle of the woods people would balk and be disgusted. Were they to transfer it into our rivers and streams an outcry would be heard from near and far for something to be done.
The roaring tides and the shear mass of the ocean itself, however, seems to soften the affect of disposing of human waste into the sea. If this logic was sound we could suppose the sinking of an oil tanker would have very little concern to the environment but this is not so. An oil tanker dribbling its hold for a few days is considered devastating no matter where it occurs. The chemical nature of oil negatively impacts an ecosystem. Should the organics of poo be any different?
Raw sewage is a breeding ground for disease. Diluted into the ocean this disease becomes a radically small component of the ocean. Collected on the ocean's floor, however, it becomes an organic foreign body that, too, negatively impacts an ecosystem. And it just so happens that ecosystem is a source of income and food for many and can lead to the closure of beaches, sport fishing and sustenance when the affects of fecal coliform and other toxins begin to infect local shellfish.
So, yes, there is an organic reason to not deliver untreated waste into our oceans. But moreover - and without the province of the feds to guide us - we all have a social responsibility to set the example for future generations that ours is a culture that keeps what is right in mind rather than wait to be told we should fix the error of our ways. We might not see the impact we have on the oceans when we deliver our waste into it but, then again, we wouldn't notice a bus if we drove it into its depths either.

Geographic location: Florida, Nova Scotia

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