Sunday, February 10, 2008

A different manure problem...

No, not some diatribe against CAFO's or a concern about salmonella or e coli. It seems cow manure is adding to serious arsenic problem in India.
Arsenic is poisoning millions of people in the state of West Bengal in India. Tube well water — a popular source of drinking water in the region — is often laced with toxic concentrations of the metal, which occurs naturally in the region. Because the contaminated water is used for irrigation, arsenic also makes its way into agricultural produce, including rice, a staple food in the region, and rice straw, which feeds cattle. Now scientists have discovered that arsenic also lingers in the air — a result of burning cow dung cakes as a fuel in unventilated ovens for cooking. [More]
It is improbable stories like this that help illuminate the staggering differences in daily living around the globe. It also adds weight to the concerns about potable water becoming humanity's emerging crisis.

No comments: