Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Farmers are poisoning Canterbury

Last year we learned that relatively low levels of nitrates in drinking water were linked to increased incidence of colorectal cancer. New Zealand has a lot of nitrates, thanks to all those cows pissing everywhere. So how bad is the problem here? Bad:

2020 data obtained by Forest & Bird through the Official Information Act shows multiple Canterbury councils have reported nitrate-nitrogen levels this year well above 0.88 mg/l, with Selwyn, Ashburton, Timaru, and Waitaki presenting especially concerning levels.

The supply for the Rangitata Huts reached a recent maximum of 11.43 mg/l in June last year, having since dropped back to 8.85 mg/l in April.

Ashburton’s Tinwald treatment plants recorded a nitrate-nitrogen level of 7.01 mg/l, well above the increased risk levels for colorectal, colon, and rectal cancer, and above the Ministry of Health level of 5.65 mg/l that prompts ongoing monitoring of the supply. Numerous other supplies across the wider Ashburton district recorded similar levels.

Forest & Bird says the results are a wakeup call for the government, which last month decided not to put a Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen limit of 1.0 mg/l (similar to nitrate-nitrogen) in the new freshwater reforms, ignoring the advice of its Science and Technical Advisory Group, as well as submissions from the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (that called for a level “considerably lower than 1 mg/L of DIN”), and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

The dairy industry is slowly poisoning people in those towns. And by refusing to regulate them properly, the government is effectively colluding in it. And at some stage, we need to decide what is more important: people's lives, or farmers' profits.