Thursday, September 16, 2010

Amish Farmers Polluting The Chesapeake

The Chesapeake Bay is polluted from many different factors.  Alarmingly, the Amish contribute an extremely high level of fertilizer as runoff to the Chesapeake Bay.  The Amish community own 5,000 of the farms in Lancaster County, PA.  The manure and fertilizer from their farms run off into local streams, which eventually run into the Chesapeake Bay.  Such runoff can lead to Dead Zones in the bay, which can be a fishermans worst nightmare. 
"They are very resistant to government interference, and they object to government subsidies," Donald Kraybill, a professor at Elizabethtown College and studier of the Amish, said.  The Environmental Protection Agency has been trying to approach each farmer individually, suggesting different changes they could make to fix their continued damage to the Chesapeake Bay.  While some Amish decided to make improvements on thier manure and fertilzer damage, many felt insulted by the EPA's interference.  The Amish Community rejection of any kind of government influence or regulations could lead to further destruction of the Chesapeake Bay. 
Not only are the Amish polluting the bay, they are putting themselves at risk for many health issues.  The New York Times article reported on an assessment of 24 Lancaster County farms. "Twenty-three of the farms were plain sect; 17 were found to be managing their manure inadequately. The abundance of manure was also affecting water quality. Six of the 19 wells sampled contained E. coli bacteria, and 16 had nitrate levels exceeding those allowed by the E.P.A.”  While the Amish may think that they are living sustainably, they are seriously contributing the destruction of the bay and risking their health in the process.

1 comment:

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