OPINION: It was good to see the article of August 4 on stream testing of Taranaki rivers using the MCI system, where insects are used as indicators of health ("Where the rivers flow").
Under fairly natural conditions this is a great system that I highly recommend more people to learn.
The example used in the story was, however, poorly interpreted, and given the frack story on the next page it was obviously a political move from council.
What the MCI test in your story showed was that once discharge of drilling wastes was stopped, the stream health picked up again, at some point. What this really says is that the stream health was affected by the discharge - that is, insects were killed. The fact that the insect population improved shows little reflection to human health effects.
Humans do not reproduce every few months. Humans are almost completely different. Symptoms of the pollution may not show for decades, as we may be seeing now with the cancer victims in Kapuni who were possibly poisoned from petroleum industry pollution in their area.
These water tests the council use also do not test for all known chemicals going into our waterways and, as we are now finding out, the council often doesn't know what chemicals are being discharged anyway.
The number of discharges and the number of waterways to be polluted are increasing because our Government and regional council are allowing more and more petroleum exploration consents.
Environmental pollution is very hard to pinpoint so that blame can be laid, repeats avoided and justice served. So why allow it in the first place?
- © Fairfax NZ News
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