The Mississippi River
To some, the word Mississippi became popular just because of the way it looks and sounds. To others, the spelling is what fascinates them. To some others, it is popular for how large it is as described by Christopher Columbus. Well, the good news is no one has offered a wrong opinion. The Mississippi River is in fact the largest river in North America. She has close to 30 million people living around its watershed.
Historically, rivers worldwide were being used as disposal sites. Yes, not anymore. But, this vile behaviour persists in some parts of the world – sadly. Practice as such often has a disastrous effect on living species.
Land and water inhabitants mostly than the others. The dumping of sewage in the Mississippi River for instance led to increases in lead and reduced oxygen. This situation aggravated until rivers were known to pose environmental hazards.
When the U.S Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 however, this sour situation lessened. Task forces were effective in reducing the discharges of pollutants into the environment. This was followed closely by The Clean Air Act. Then, there was the Toxic Substances Control Act.
With these, a federal structure was established in the state. This gave the Environment Protection Agency increased authority to place restrictions on specific chemicals of high toxicity such as lead.
When the provisions of these environmental policies came into place, the concentrations of bacteria decreased by 3 orders of magnitude. The content of oxygen increased. There was a decrease in lead concentrations. Also, sulphate declined in concentration less dramatically.
Emissions of sulphur dioxide reached a peak in 1965 when the river’s quality level dropped to a low of 5.8 of 15 by estimate. Not just Mediterranean beaches, waterfalls were in fact affected as that fell to the range of 6.5 to 8.5. This leaves 7.0 in the neutral closure. After the gladdening decline in the emissions as at 2019 however, the quality level of the beaches was restored to an average of 8.2.
While the bulky part of the evidence available suggests the suitability of the Mississippi River for restoration of the coastal areas, there still are concerns that surround the potential shifts of habitats and this is believed to possibly result in diversions. This can in effect shift the distribution and frequency of fisheries by the way.
The acceptance of the Clean Water Act and subsequent Clean Air Act shows the way public policy may impact society which by extension implies everyone that may be found anywhere in this society of cycling pollutants.
In order to ensure a sustainable quality of water in the Mississippi River, there is the need for consistent vigilance which would be incomplete without thorough monitoring.
Oceans are filled with plastics. Sewage commutes pharmaceuticals and in fact CoOVID-19 virus. Also, other viruses spread from old septic tanks. Some are insufficiently controlled hydrological while some others are with a treatment system that is overloaded.
Each year, new pollutants are deposited into the River. To check these, monitoring and testing is required. But unfortunately, lead monitoring ended already. Nevertheless, these past decades have seen the world through sustained and effective efforts at ensuring improvements in water quality.