Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beaches 2007 - More Of The Same Propaganda

The Hartford Courant covers the latest NRDC beach report, claiming the number of beaches in the state closed because of pollution rose for the 4th straight year. I say "claim" because as I chronicled last summer, (Swimming Water Hysteria and Swimming Water Hysteria II) these beach reports are pure environmental propaganda and their conclusions have no basis in science.

I work in the field, so I know how this works. Beaches do routine (usually weekly) testing for e.coli, and they shut down upon elevated readings. As last year's report noted, it is usually difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the elevated levels. Often times, the causes of the elevated levels are clearly not man-made - they can be caused by simple rain water run off and animal droppings. Yet, reading the Hartford Courant story this morning, you get the impression that all these closings are caused by man-made pollution. (Yes, they only say "pollution," but doesn't utilizing the term pollution invoke the destructive behavior of man?)

Maybe I'll look at the actual report later, but seeing as this is an annual piece of propaganda which I already examined last year, I have little hope for it. And speaking of little hope, I'm not crossing my fingers that anyone in the media will critically examine the NRDC report and press releases.

Updated 8/8/07 @ 9:40 AM : The Hartford Courant refers to the Connecticut group involved in the project, Save the Sound. According to a report I heard on the radio this morning, Save the Sound is using the report as a mechanism for urging the state of Connecticut to fund improvements in the wastewater discharge infrastructure. Let me just go on the record as saying I'm not against cleaning up the sound or improving waste treatment systems (although the mechanisms for doing so are certainly debatable). I'm just opposed to the misuse of science and concerned with the blind manner in which the media accepts these sorts of environmental reports.


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