Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Miami, wake up! Not just a "day at the beach": flesh eating bacteria alert! ... by gimleteye

The following report is from Fort Myers: man loses leg to flesh eating bacteria. He's sitting a hospital room saying that his mission is now to warn people that touching beach water in Florida could cost you even more than a leg.

Meanwhile -- and at the very same time -- the GOP-led Florida legislature and Gov. Rick Scott are poised to drastically lower pollution standards in Lake Okeechobee; the liquid heart of Florida where so much pollution comes from. What's the connection?

Pollution spewing through the Caloosahatchee River to the west coast of Florida and the St. Lucie River, to the east, is so serious that it has turned Florida's outstanding water bodies into vast petri dishes for toxic algae and exotic bacteria like the one that just took a man's leg.

The particulars are depressingly familiar (cf. "Courtney Nash's Last Swim: Florida's Lethal Waters", 2011). A shadow government of big corporate agribusiness -- cattle and Big Sugar -- literally runs the state of Florida. Billionaire polluters are continuously trying to dodge responsibility for their clean up costs.

The latest indignity: persuading your state legislators to approve a new law making water quality compliance "voluntary" for Lake O polluters.

In the Palm Beach Post, Earthjustice attorney David Guest fumes, "This is like some bad dream, and it will be a forever nightmare for everyone who lives near the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, where the pollution flows to the coasts. We know this toxic algae kills wildlife and makes people and animals sick, causing flulike symptoms, skin lesions and respiratory problems. Why on earth would we make it easier for these polluters to dump this stuff on us?"

But it is not just our northern or western neighbors who need to be alert. We do, too, in Miami and Broward. The shit hitting the fan in our waterways affects all of us. Our drinking water. Our beaches. Our future.

You -- the voters -- entrusted these geniuses in the state legislature with your votes. Think it doesn't matter to you? Ask yourself just one question: if you lost your leg to a flesh eating bacteria after an innocent day at the beach, say Miami Beach, who would you be able to hold accountable? Answer: no one. If you are lucky, you might get a prosthetic leg for free from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Watch the video. Read the report. Inform yourselves and vote accordingly.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Man's message for beachgoers after losing leg to flesh eating bacteria
Updated: May 11, 2015 7:55 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, FL- A Florida man is recovering after he lost his foot and part of his lower leg.

Doctors say it was caused by flesh-eating bacteria that he contacted during a day at the beach.

Now, lying in a bed on the fourth floor of Health Park Hospital, Zachary Motal shared the shock that's still gripping him.

"It's been a hard thing to go through to wake up every morning and not see your foot there anymore," Motal explained.

He believes it started when he waded into the waters of Fort Myers Beach.

In less than 48 hours, he was hospitalized.

"They took me up to ICU and within a few hours they were cutting my foot off," he explained, "The doctor said if I hadn't have got here when I did, within four hours I would have been dead."

He's sharing his story based on his firm belief the trouble was in the water.

"I think something does need to be done, the public does need to be aware that there's a flesh eating bacteria," he said.

Fox 4 checked the recent water test results from the State Health Department, and they showed no advisories along Fort Myers Beach, or elsewhere for that matter.

That was something Motal didn't like hearing.

"It made me feel horrible, because this is the only way I could've contracted this disease is that water. Even the doctor said so. So who are we going to believe, a doctor who spends his life studying infectious diseases, or somebody who says they tested the water?" he explained.

He blames that water for a condition that initially put him in agonizing pain, and nearly ate him to death.

"My foot was swollen and purple like a football...I was in tears, I was literally crying on my floor, because it hurt so bad," Motal said, "When I came in here I weighed 255 pounds, now I weigh 209."

As his Harley cap in honor of his beloved bike, and his colorful tats might imply, Zach is not the type who backs down from a challenge.

In this case, to make his warning heard.

"I don't plan on giving up. I just want the public to be aware of what's out in our water is very dangerous, it'll take your limbs, or worse, your life," Motal said.

However there is now good news for Zachary Motal,

He just learned a company will be giving him a prosthetic leg, for free.

Commentary: Proposed bills entrust water protection to worst offenders
Posted: 12:20 p.m. Sunday, May 10, 2015
By David Guest

David Guest is managing attorney for the Florida office of Earthjustice, a national nonprofit law firm.

The toxic green slime that killed pelicans, dolphins, fish, and manatees in South Florida two summers ago is back, lurking in Lake Okeechobee, where, as we all know, it will likely spread to the coasts once the government starts releasing water to lower the lake’s level.
It is important to remember that Lake Okeechobee belongs to all of us. But our lake has become a private sewer for agricultural corporations. Instead of strengthening laws to keep agriculture’s polluted runoff out of our water, some politicians in Tallahassee are trying to rescind the currently required state pollution permits altogether. Their new scheme would replace permits with — incredibly — voluntary compliance.

This is like some bad dream, and it will be a forever nightmare for everyone who lives near the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, where the pollution flows to the coasts. We know this toxic algae kills wildlife and makes people and animals sick, causing flulike symptoms, skin lesions and respiratory problems. Why on earth would we make it easier for these polluters to dump this stuff on us?

This is a get-out-of-jail free card for polluters, and the public shouldn’t stand for it.

At Earthjustice, we have represented citizens groups for decades in legal battles against polluters, trying to require common-sense controls on the toxic slime that’s wrecking our natural areas. It is simply not right for one class of water users to pollute the resource for the rest of us, and then stick us with the cleanup bill.

The water policy legislation was near a vote in the Statehouse right before the House abruptly adjourned. The lobbyists for these big agricultural corporations created a world of double-speak to obscure the fact that they are trying to get away with no regulation. This wholesale destruction of the pollution permitting system was buried in a giant bill that included many other aspects of state water policy, including protections for our springs. It’s the old Tallahassee bait and switch.

Under the legislation, polluters would merely have to write a plan that says they are trying not to pollute — no more permits, a mere promise would be enough. The state admits that it has only a handful of inspectors available to check up on these voluntary pollution plans, and the inspectors would have to get special permission to come on-site to see whether the company is actually doing what it said it would do.

Give us a break! This is a recipe for more green slime in Lake Okeechobee, and more nauseating pollution and fish kills on the east and west coasts.

The Big Ag lobbyists will be in the front row when the Legislature reconvenes for its special session in June, trying to get this nefarious legislation passed in a hurry. We need to tell our legislators that we want them to protect our interests by stopping this political move to repeal water pollution permits. When you think of the heartbreaking images of dead pelicans, dolphins, fish and manatees we’ve witnessed in South Florida, think about what the Legislature should be doing to stop it. Instead of controlling pollution, these politicians are trying to legalize it.

We need to tell our legislators clearly and loudly: When our water is at stake, a polluter’s promise just isn’t good enough. The state simply has to be able to impose consequences when a polluter doesn’t comply with clean-water requirements.

1 comment:

Alexandria said...

All over the news the other night was a Burger King in Lake Worth they had dumped grease down a storm drain outside. This was a least a five minute report on all three stations ABC , NBC, CBS, yet the man with the flesh eating leg removing item was not. Our news affiliates are part of the problem. The other is we compromised ourselves into this hole. Fixing Lake Okeechobee is where it must begin and Orlando needs to stop flushing it's toilet south which is what is happening all the way down the Kissimee. Everyone is dumping their runoff and it needs to stop there.Until we stop choosing to ignore the head of the snake and the source of the real problem it will never stop. Demand Disney aka Reedy Creek pay for its clean up that would be a very good start then make the ranchers clean up their mess. Call on the feds to do their job instead of "send it south" the signs should read Call the FBI "To end pollution we must end corruption". Let's get rid of the corrupt elected officials. Because at the end of the day the guy who lost his leg did so because of our corrupt elected officials who create the rules to let this happen period.