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Dolphins and Other Hazardous Matters

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
July 16, 1998


I have added a new element to my beach ritual. Now instead of walking to the beach with the sole purpose of picking up trash, I have included a two hour walk. In other words, I have decided that maintaining body and soul is as important as maintaining the coast. The plan is to walk south for an hour, and then turn around a walk back. The trip back is where I incorporate my clean up efforts. I got bored with just looking at garbage, so now I enjoy the coast as well, imagine that.

Now, for those of you that have been in a coma for the last seven months, 1998 has been declared the Year of the Ocean by those responsible for making such declarations. This designation was designed to encourage people and governments (not always the same thing) to give more consideration to their relationship with 3/4's of the planet. This includes all the garbage and other testaments to indifference that make their way to the Big Blue.

Although I am a Southern Californian native, as well as a coast dweller, many of you would be surprised by the fact that I haven't swam off our coast since 1985, too polluted. And yesterday while taking my walk I was witness to a pod of Dolphins frolicking off our coast, yet I was unable to enter the water to join them, due to my fear of coming in fullbody-contact with the chemical soup we call the pacific. I have known too many people who have gotten seriously ill from surfing and swimming at North County beaches. I'm convinced that my friend Ron contracted Leucemia while surfing off Buccaneer Beach in Oceanside. A belief only emphasized by some sleuthing I was involved with recently.

Another friend of mine asked me to help her get some information on a piece of property she intends to buy on Highway 101. It seems that as she was inspecting it with her realtor, she smelled a nauseating odor coming from a neighboring business. Well, to make a long story short, we discovered that Tri-City Plating Inc. has been cited at least 3 times for health code violations, twice in 1997.

This business is located no further than 100 yards from the Alta Loma Creek, which empties into the ocean at, yes you got it, Buccaneer Beach. When asked why they haven't been shut down by the Department of Environmental Health, we were told all they could do was levy fines against those illegally handling or disposing of hazardous materials.

When we approached the city of Oceanside about this we were given the classic run around, to be fair I think this had more to do with a lack of foresight than with anything else. Finally we were told to write a letter to the Fire Chief. This was two weeks ago , and as of this writing these polluters are still in operation and continue to put the public at risk. It won't be good for tourism when word gets out that one of Oceanside's most popular beaches and adjacent park are less than three blocks away from a business that has no regard for it's employees or the surrounding community.It seems this is not an unusual occurrence.

In Encinitas, the brain trust at city hall has convinced themselves that the people of Encinitas want a regional hazardous material collection site. In fact that are so sure that this will be a major money maker they have decided to put it in the backyard of some lucky residents.Sure, city staff will tell all concerned that they have yet to settle on a site. But if their grant application is approved, the only one place it can go is the one stipulated on the application. What was the name of that AC/DC song? Oh yeah. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

Now that I think about it . Isn't the city of Vista attempting foist a similar business on the citizens of Vista and Oceanside as well.

Now before anyone starts accusing me of being a NIMBY, let me just say that I think The City of Encinitas should have a Haz-Mat site to deal with their waste, as should all American cities. If cities were forced to deal with their own waste, and that includes landfills, maybe they would then begin to reduce consumption. As long as people can ship their garbage and toxic by-products away from their comfortable communities they will never grasp the true impact of their wasteful ways.

Meanwhile back at the ocean dolphins are racing through the waves and jumping for joy. But on closer inspection maybe they are actually trying to outrun the toxins we inflict on them and their environment. All I know is that their is more pollution every year, and less dolphins. You do the math.

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