Friday, December 7, 2007

Hazardous waste - health risk

The Lakota have campaigned in defense of land rights for over 140 years and their struggle never decreases. Reservation land is now contaminated by waste from abandoned uranium and gold mines and other commercial waste. This causes appalling health problems to Lakota families with high rates of cancer, miscarriages and birth defects.

Many wells and much of the water and land on the Pine Ridge Reservation is contaminated with radioactivity, pesticides, heavy metals, and other poisons from farming, mining, open dumps, and commercial and governmental mining operations outside the Reservation. A further source of contamination is buried ordnance and hazardous materials from closed U.S. military bombing ranges on the Reservation.

Scientific studies show that the High Plains/Oglala Aquifer which begins underneath the Pine Ridge Reservation is predicted to run dry in less than 30 years due to commercial interest use and dry-land farming in numerous states south of the Reservation. This critical North American underground water resource is not renewable at anything near the present consumption rate. The recent years of drought have simply accelerated the problem.

Source: Stephanie M. Schwartz - Arrogance of Ignorance.
Picture: Kalpesh Lathigra - Lost in the wilderness.

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