Friday, August 11, 2017

Irrigation is a threat to public health

That's the view of Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey:

Drinking water in the Selwyn District is at increasing risk of contamination as more dairy cows are being farmed there, local residents have been told.


Dr Humphrey said it was impossible for the regional council, Environment Canterbury, to meet its targets for reducing pollutants while at the same time meeting its other targets for increasing the amount of irrigation that was happening.

He said a soon-to-be released report from the council showed the level of polluting nitrates in ground water was increasing in 25 percent of wells.

"There's increases all the way across the Canterbury Plains, so we're not doing very well and we're not even hitting the targets we've set ourselves."

Dr Humphrey said high nitrate levels were potentially fatal for newborn babies, and this was something midwives were now factoring into their visits to expectant mothers.

What's really worrying is that they try and do their jobs and take action against the people polluting the water table, they get told that they can't because they don't want to upset the Minister. Think about that for a moment. We have a clear threat to public health, pollution that poisons babies, and it is allowed to continue because of Ministerial interference. That's simply not acceptable. Public health officials must be free to do their job of protecting us. And the polluting industries which are endangering us must be forced to stop.