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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
(1983)

Wisconsin waters,   pp. 3-17 PDF (5.6 MB)


Page 17

 
Wisconsin Waters   17 
  Perhaps the most difficult obstacle to overcome in the implementation of
such 
a plan is our own thinking regarding waste water disposal. For too long we
have accepted the assumption that wastes must be released into the nearest
river or lake. Hence we have many problems, some of which are becoming so
serious that man's well-being is threatened. Enough studies have been made
to 
demonstrate that water pollution catastrophes are very expensive and that
the 
cheapest way to handle wastes is to treat them at or near the source, where
they can be effectively converted into useful products or safely contained.
  Continued pollution of our public waters will result in fishes becoming
charged 
with higher levels of toxic wastes. Should this trend continue, ultimately
man 
will be able to eat only those fish which are raised under carefully controlled
conditions. Safe foods from public waters are already becoming increasingly
rare; and just as problems have already arisen with mercury, DDT, Mirex,
and 
PCBs, other problems-as yet not identified-are sure to surface. Today's most
urgent problem is acid precipitation; it threatens the fishery resource in
many 
northern Wisconsin lakes and may be uniquely difficult to control, since
the air- 
borne toxicants may be originating from locales thousands of kilometers away.
  Our present efforts to control pollution problems are not succeeding. As
population and industrial growth continue, we attempt to control increasingly
complex wastes with antiquated and ineffectual treatment methods. Official
pollution control agencies are still recommending for most municipal and
in- 
dustrial wastes primary and secondary (rarely tertiary) treatment systems-
systems which are capable of coping neither with the present volume of waste
water nor with the extraction of toxic substances. The sophisticated means
available for waste control are dismissed as being too expensive. Frustrated,
some observers have suggested that in the light of present trends man may
be 
forced to adopt an enclosed environment, a sterilized test-tube culture,
to en- 
sure his own survival. 


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