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Killing ourselves and our water systems slowly but surely

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The water near Ilha de Mare, an island off the coast of Ecuador but part of Brazil, was blue and remained consistently warm year-round. For generations, women have walked in the waves and on the shores collecting shellfish to sell in the markets and feed their children at home. While it may not be the dream life of First World women, for some women, it was enough.

Eliete Paraguassu. Photo courtesy of GlobalWitness

Eliete Paraguassu, a proud shellfish gatherer, grew-up playing and working in the water. It was part of her daily existence. One day, Paraguassu noticed that something was wrong with her daughter. Eliete took her to the Doctor, where according to a report published by Global Witness, they found “high levels of heavy metals” in her hair and blood samples.

The lives of these women, the descendants of slaves, and the lives of their children are now at stake. The culprits: Big business, criminal organizations, and governments that continually ignore the needs of their indigenous people.

Paraguassu told Global Witness that mining companies engage in hazardous business practices when they dump contaminated waste from their mines into the waters that surround the island. When the people eat the food or spend time in the water, they are exposed to the heavy metals. Because of the exposure, people reported spikes in the number of cases of “epilepsy and cancer.”

These types of problems are not limited to the so-called Third World. Recently, NPR reported that unusually heavy rainfall in Jackson, Mississippi overwhelmed a pump at the O.B. Curtis water treatment plant. People in Jackson were left without drinking water for some time.

CNN reported on the massive fish die-off in the Oder River that flows between Poland and Germany. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said it would take years for the river to return to normal. “It is likely that enormous amounts of chemical waste has been dumped into the water, he said. Morawiecki vowed that those responsible would be held accountable.

Water is valuable to all of us. It life-giving and life-sustaining. It’s too valuable to let Unconscientious Capitalists control.

Some informational content gleamed from cnn.com, Global Witness, The Guardian, NPR, and YouTube.

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