The Mississippi River is nastier than you might suspect.
Environment America yesterday released Wasting Our Waterways
, its comprehensive report on the health of the nation's waterways, and there's good news and bad news for Missouri.
The good news is that Missouri ranked 28th on its overall toxic discharges in rivers and streams. There's definitely room for improvement there, but we're not Indiana, Virginia or Nebraska, the states that finished first-, second- and third-worst, respectively. The bad news is that if the Mississippi River were a horse, it would have already been shot.
In category after category, the Mississippi finishes in the top three for dangerous contaminants discharged into it and coming out of it. The Mississippi is number two nationwide for total toxic discharges, with 12,339,749 pounds of dangerous material in 2010, the last year with data available; it finishes top two again for total number of cancer-causing discharges (180,339 pounds); it slips to the three slot for total number of toxicants discharged that are linked to developmental issues (74,021 pounds); and the Mississippi jumps back into second position for total number of toxicants discharged that are linked with reproductive issues (70,656 pounds).
Not good. Not good at all. Environment America hopes the release of this information will raise support for its plan to have the Obama administration to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act.
At the very least, it makes one leery of swimming in any rivers this summer without first checking the report.