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It is time for drastic action

August 15, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

To the editor:

When Jeb Bush was governor years ago, there were howls of outrage about green algae in our waters. The scientists studied and monitored the river, environmental organizations pulled in fist-fulls of donations to "fight for clean water." There were conferences, seminars, public meetings, reports, explanations and many articles. When the Realtors and the tourist industry woke up to the problem, the local politicians realized they had a winning platform and at the tax-payers' expense trundled off to Washington and Tallahassee. There have been cute slogans, such as "send the water south," as if the Everglades needs all that pollution. A few brave souls have blamed "Big Sugar," but the sugar daddies hand out fist fulls of money to politicians to protect their interests. Lately, entrepreneurs have suggested expensive schemes to scoop up the algae or make it go away with oxygen and ozone injections.

These polite ways of addressing the water issue have failed. It is time for drastic action.

- Place the blame on all of Florida agriculture, sugar, citrus, cattle, strawberries. They all use or in the case of cattle, produce fertilizer that flows into the waterways.

- Force the agricultural industry to stop using fertilizer until they build "mini wetlands" on their property to soak up the nitrogen and phosphates.

- Take truckloads of dead fish, rotting sea turtles and decaying algae from the beaches and deposit the mess on the governor's and the legislators' doorsteps. Save a double load for Big Sugar's corporate headquarters. Make sure the press and photographers witness these infamous deeds.

- The environmental groups should organize a nationwide boycott of Florida's agricultural products. Start the boycott on social media and watch it grow. Place signs demanding the boycott in front of supermarkets and farmer's markets. A full page ad in the New York Times the publicity alone would be enough to embarrass the agricultural industry into action.

Dumping the dead fish and starting a boycott would cost little in comparison to all the money spent uselessly over the past dozen years.

John Raffensperger




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