海灣污染嚴重 絕望的美國船伕揚言控告環保署 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

海灣污染嚴重 絕望的美國船伕揚言控告環保署

2008年11月03日
摘譯自2008年10月29日ENS,美國,馬里蘭州安那波里斯報導,吳萃慧編譯,蔡麗伶審校

美國乞沙比克灣 ( Chesapeake Bay )水域的汙染狀況 (圖片來源 : George Brown, III)美國兩個州的船夫(waterman)、乞沙比克灣基金會(the Chesapeake Bay Foundation)及其他5個團體10月29日通知美國環保署(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency),他們打算前往聯邦法院強制要求環保署降低乞沙比克灣水域的污染,而這個海灣是全美最大的河海口區域。

這個訴訟計畫聲明(notice of intent to sue)是建基於「淨水法(the Clean Water Act)」裡賦予公民對環保署提起訴訟的權利。

馬里蘭州船夫協會(Maryland Watermen's Association)理事長西姆士(Larry Simns)船長表示:「我們之所以這麼做是因為已經走投無路了。大家都一直在宣導清理這個海灣,但一直沒有成效。現已到關鍵時刻,除非開始採取行動,否則就會完全失去這個海灣。」

乞沙比克灣的藍蟹(blue crabs)逐漸減少中 (圖片來源 : Chesapeake Bay Program)科學家已確認,2008年是這個海灣自1985年成為死亡海域(dead zone)以來第四嚴重的一年。死亡海域的形成是營養物質從廢水處理廠、農業排水及其他來源進入這個海灣,刺激藻類大量繁殖形成藻華(blooms of algae)而來的。當這些藻類死亡後沈入海灣底部並進行分解,會將水域中的氧氣用掉。2008年這個海灣死海區域已有超過10個月時間僅殘存非常少量的氧氣,並且在7月的時候,有40%的海灣主要幹流(mainstems)受到影響。缺乏氧氣會殺死魚類及藍蟹(blue crabs),或使其遠離偏好的棲息地。

乞沙比克灣的螃蟹族群已接近歷史新低,造成馬里蘭州及維吉尼亞州已必須嚴格地限制商業捕蟹活動,連帶使數百位船夫失去工作。

維吉尼亞州船夫協會(Virginia Watermen's Association)理事長史密斯(Ken Smith)表示:「乞沙比克灣和支流持續惡化的情形已經到了緊要關頭,必須採取劇烈手段來改善水質。」

史密斯說道:「過去35年來,維吉尼亞州仍在船上工作的船夫數目已從8000人降到少於3000人。污染正掠奪我們的生存空間和生活方式,也奪取子孫延續我們引以為傲的傳統的能力。」

非營利的乞沙比克灣基金會已經40歲了,它的功能是重整及保護這個海灣和支流河川。基金會理事長貝克(William Baker)表示:「過去25年來,重整乞沙比克灣的努力波折重重,跳票的承諾和保證太多了。美國環保署曾保證要在2010年之前降低這個海灣的污染程度,使得以從聯邦污穢水域名單中除名,這是他們應該要站上台面的時候了,或是為他們無法遵從法律規定,達到保證而負法律責任。」

美國環保署已經承認現在的方案及政策,是無法達成這個目標。相關官員正討論要將這個海灣的清淨目標年限再往後延12年。

Desperate Chesapeake Bay Watermen Threaten to Sue EPA
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, October 29, 2008 (ENS)

Watermen in two states, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and five other parties today notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that they intend to go to federal court to force the agency to require pollution reduction in the waters of Chesapeake Bay, the national largest estuary.

Today's notice of intent to sue is required for any citizen lawsuit against the EPA to enforce the Clean Water Act.

"We are doing this because we're backed into a corner. We've all been preaching to clean the bay up, with no results," said Captain Larry Simns president of the Maryland Watermen's Association. "We're at a crucial point here. Unless we do something now we're going to lose the bay completely."

Scientists have determined that this year the bay suffered the fourth worst dead zone since 1985. Dead zones happen when nutrients from sewage treatment plants, agricultural runoff and other sources enter the bay and stimulate blooms of algae. When these algae die they sink to the bottom and decompose, removing oxygen from the water.

Dead zones have left too little oxygen in the bay over 10 months of the year, and in July, 40 percent of the bay's mainstem was affected. Lack of oxygen kills fish and blue crabs or drives them from their preferred habitat.

The Chesapeake Bay's crab population is near historic lows. As a result, Maryland and Virginia have had to severely limit the commercial crab harvest, putting hundreds of watermen out of work.

"The continuing degradation of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries has reached the point that it is imperative that dramatic measures be taken to improve water quality," said Virginia Watermen's Association President Ken Smith.

"Over the last 35 years, the number of working watermen in Virginia has dropped from 8,000 to less than 3,000," Smith said. "Pollution is robbing us of our livelihood, our way of life, and the ability of our children to carry on a proud tradition."

"Over the last 25 years Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts have been littered with promises broken and commitments unfulfilled," said William Baker, president of the 40 year old nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which works to restore and protect the bay and its tributary rivers.

"It is time that EPA either step up to the plate, or be held legally accountable for its failure to comply with the law and fulfill the commitment to reduce pollution sufficiently to have the Bay removed from the federal dirty waters list by 2010," Baker said.

The EPA has admitted that with current programs and policies in place, that goal will not be achieved. Officials are now discussing pushing the Bay clean-up goal back another 12 years.

全文及圖片詳見:ENS