Kim Klein and the Commons: Paying for Pollution


Today’s morning paper had this headline, “Fish Fail Mercury Test” with the subhead, “Toxin found in 100 percent of samples from streams across the U.S.; industrial pollution blamed.” 

Basically, a federal study of mercury contamination released Wednesday described testing fish from nearly 300 streams across the country and finding mercury in EVERY SINGLE FISH of over the 1,000 fish that were examined.  In what was apparently supposed to pass as the good news in this story, the Federal study also noted that ONLY 25% of fish had mercury levels exceeding what the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe for people eating “average” amounts of fish.  The EPA defines average as about one fish meal every two weeks, which is far less than many people living on the east and west coast would eat, and a fraction of what many Asian Americans eat.

To me, this kind of study reinforces the fact that water must be seen as part of the commons, and our water commons has been enclosed by pollution.  In order to clean up water (and air, and over a long period of time, fish), corporations must be required to pay for the total cost of all they produce, from acquisition to disposal…

To read the rest of this post, visit Kim Klein and the Commons.

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