An Elementary School in Georgia has experienced high arsenic levels in the water. Colquitt County School Board is considering a filtration system. The school sits on a vein that runs throughout the state so the school is trying to protect its students from exposure to the poison in the water. The new filtration system will be expensive but the high arsenic levels in the water continue to get worse. In my opinion it should be a requirement for the students that attend the school. The school system is fixing the situation instead of addressing the big picture as a community and reducing amounts of arsenic coming from the vein. There may be water that the rest of the town uses that is not confirmed safe. The filtration in the school ensures the safety of the children while they are at the school, but what happens when they go home and the same unsafe water is the resource.
“All the testing is not yet complete; however, we are taking a pro-active role to ensure the safety of our students and staff at Hamilton Elementary School,” the letter said. Because the levels do not seem to be improving, on Tuesday the Colquitt County School Board authorized purchasing a filtration system that will remove substances, including arsenic, from the water. One vendor has been contacted and provided a price of about $50,000 for the system. After checking with other vendors the system will make a decision soon” (1)
The next step should be to bring in the community and plan action against the vein and the water supply source that is can come in contact with. The actions may be costly but there will be no question to the safety of the water quality. The town would benefit from a plan to filter the water systems and protect their families from dangerous contaminants.
Alan Mauldin- The Moultrie Observer
Image is from contact with arsenic contaminated water on the skin.
“It is critical to not get ahead of the science,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor.” (1)
When arsenic was discovered in rice and other manufactured food products it immediately gained attention. I researched the effects of arsenic once consumed and it can be very dangerous for the human body. These products have been discovered in the U.S. marketplace. Samples have been taken of various samples of rice but for the most part there are a large numbers of contaminants in the rice that we may have purchased recently.
“The FDA’s ongoing data collection and other assessments will give us a solid scientific basis for determining what action levels and/or other steps are needed to reduce exposure to arsenic in rice and rice products.”(1)
Elemental arsenic and arsenic compounds are classified as “toxic” and “dangerous for the environment” in the European Union under directive 67/548/EEC. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recognizes arsenic and arsenic compounds as group 1 carcinogens, and the EU lists arsenic trioxide, arsenic pentoxide and arsenate salts as category 1 carcinogens. Arsenic is known to cause arsenicosis owing to its manifestation in drinking water, “the most common species being arsenate and arsenite.”
However the USA’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that the long-term effects of arsenic exposure cannot be predicted. Blood, urine, hair, and nails may be tested for arsenic; however, these tests cannot foresee possible health outcomes from the exposure. Excretion occurs in the urine and long-term exposure to arsenic has been linked to bladder and kidney cancer in addition to cancer of the liver, prostate, skin, lungs and nasal cavity
My title means Otoe- Missouria & Food that is how they are pronounces in our language. Our tribe was relocated to Oklahoma from the mid-west areas of Iowa and Nebraska. Our tribal people once had diets that consist of game such as Buffalo and Deer; we also fished and gathered food from the land. The traditional diet was very healthy compared to the diet of most tribal members today. Once relocated the tribe had to create farms for raising animals and food to sustain themselves. They had money to buy food from the government, and a majority of the tribe did. The government food was completely unhealthy like lard, starches, and sugar. This would become the normal diet and eating habits of the tribal members and future generations.
Our tribe always comes together to support each other in good and bad situations. When there is a death the community gathers to feed the people, when there is a birthday, graduation, marriage, holiday, any kind of celebration, or even if someone is sick and needs praying the community will gather to have ceremonies and feed the people. The food comes from donations and purchases usually the family or individuals that are hosting the meal. Many people bring dishes and donate money or foods to people that are hosting meals. The community supports each other all the food that is prepared must be given away and prayed for. The food does not go away or the host does not keep it the people eat as much as they can and take what they want home with them. It is a way of saying thank you for the support, help, and love of the tribe and community.
Our tribe is so giving and supportive that we do not realize the bread that we are sharing and making is so unhealthy and can be harmful to our bodies. The desserts and dishes that we take home are unhealthy and cause diseases. As a tribe we need to communicate and make sure we are preparing healthy nourishing meals that will contribute to the traditions of our people gathering to feed each other.
I have researched different tribal composting programs. The Ho-chunk tribe from Black River Falls, Wisconsin has had a program for a community compost site since 2007. This tribe has diverted 4 tons of garbage and waste from landfills= into a community compost.
This effort was also a health intiative to address major concerns within the community. Composting is a way to address impacts in the environment and health of the community, as well as encourage gardening and healthier food choices. When we think of ways to become more sustainable we condsider the environment we live in. Our habits are influenced by our environment and since the climate and other major changes have been going on we must change our habits. Once people understand how to seperate their waste the next step is to recyle more efficiantly and restore environmental damages in our commuities.
Tribal funding along with the E.P.A. and Solid Waste Management Assistance GRants the composting program was created and the tribe has been collecting food scraps from their casino’s and distributing the compost to tribal community gardens first then individual farmers.
The rising cost of food has encouraged me to pay attention to every aspect of food, from growing, to harvesting and selling, as well as purchase and storing. The main source of food on our campus at Haskell Indian Nations University is our dining hall; Curtis Hall. It is government funded to provide healthy adequate food for the student body and some employee’s.
I have observed the normal functions of where the food comes from, how it is stored, and prepared. The biggest issue I have seen is how the food is disposed. All the leftover, uneaten food, is combined into garbage bags and thrown out. This is a major waste of food, it smells horrible and causes unnecessary pollution.
The project I chose to take on this semester is a composting system for the dining hall. It will decrease the amount of food being disposed in the garbage and increase the Haskell gardens. The compost will create fertile soil. We can increase the amount of fertile land that will improve the veggies and plants there. The larger compost can even enlarge the garden area by increasing the amount of fertile land to be planted with seeds for next years harvest and the years to follow.
It will not be an easy task to compost with the large amounts of food that are disposed up to three times a day, with the help of my group members and other volunteers it can be done. Anything worth doing is never easy and we understand that the impact we can have on our campus to become more sustainable.
|University Dining Services works to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in dining locations on campus. We’ve implemented programs like composting and fryer oil recycling to reduce our environmental footprint.|
“UDS composts kitchen and dining room waste in several locations on campus. Since the program’s inception in 2007, UDS has collected over 500 tons of compost.” (1)