We should seek alternatives to toxic chemicals

Jake Tapley

This past Monday, I took the phrase, “Don’t ask for the water” to heart. I didn’t drink water all day, aside from the glass I had made myself from the day before.

Maybe you did the same. If you hadn’t already read or been informed about it, there was a toxic chemical spill in West Virginia last week. More specifically, it was in the Ohio River that borders West Virginia.

The remains of this spill made its way down the river all week and nestled up into our Tri-State area Monday. Along with utility officials in Louisville, local officials decided that the chemical was likely diluted enough that water was safe to drink. However, I personally didn’t feel up to accepting the challenge.

It wasn’t the decision that bothered me, though. It was this whole scenario. Over the past year or two, I have been watching videos and reading and learning – self-educating myself on the idea of pursuing energy-efficient and health-efficient solutions. It irks me whenever we are still using many toxic and hazardous chemicals to accomplish tasks that could probably be handled in a safer way.

According to The Courier & Press, this spill was of the chemical MCHM, which is used to wash coal.

I understand that using this chemical is probably an effective way of doing so but at what cost?

An EcoWatch article about the spill reported that more than 600 people in West Virginia became ill because of the chemical. This simply isn’t acceptable. We should all be able to feel safe using our drinking water.

Now that the Internet is an informational hotspot of online forums, user-to-user sharing and content-oriented learning, we have no excuses as to why we aren’t doing anything.

We have no excuses as to why we aren’t actively counterbalancing the harsh effects of industrialization or why we aren’t making the quality of life optimal.

Between TEDTalks and YouTube, we are being overloaded with information that we need to process and act on. In the words of Zack de la Rocha, “It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?”