Warning: These photos are horrifying.
When I came across these images on the Facebook feed of local environmental activist Laura Hofman, depicting a couple playing fetch with their dog off the Newtown Creek Nature Center, I was shocked and naturally disgusted. My first reaction was – Animal Abuse! Call the ASPCA.
After reading the comments, it was noted that these folks were themselves “wading” in the toxic waterway, too. Could they not be aware of the dangers the water poses to themselves and their pet? Or maybe they just don’t care? Or don’t know really how bad it is?
We should all be aware that the Newtown Creek is a Superfund Site – and raw sewage from the treatment plant flows into the creek, which is also contaminated with pharmaceuticals, toxic metals, petroleum products, dioxins, PCBs and pathogenic microorganisms.
“I believe the creek even has Typhus in it,” Laura told me over a Facebook chat. I couldn’t control my gag reflex as I imagined the poor animal swallowing the contaminated water.
While the kayak launch at the Nature Center almost invites wading in its design, there are signs that warn against swimming, but Laura reminded me that:
There are signs. But they are in English. I have no idea if those people were English speaking people. Who knows if they noticed the signs or if they truly understand the issue. How many people know that smoking is bad for you but in reality don’t get how bad it is for you. The creek looks clean there at times. It’s decieving.
This brings up a MUCH bigger issue and the reason why I am posting these photos on the blog. As long as environmental agencies ignore the fact that people do take these risk and use the waterway in this capacity, knowingly or unknowingly, they will not feel the sense of urgency to take action.
Laura said that, “the issue with the agencies is that they don’t acknowledge that swimming is going on and will not take every effort to ensure the creek is cleaned up to a better standard.”
Perhaps these photos will convince them otherwise. In the meantime I am posting them here as a reminder to all Greenpointers – be safe and do not swim in the creek.