Lake Okeechobee in South Florida becomes vulnerable and polluted during wind-whipped days and high rains. For decades this has been a big environmental problem to people around it with pollution going beyond banks.
Starting from May this year, the wind and rains turned the bulging lake to be a real threat. It has set off a chain reaction and resulted in devastating three major estuaries, also distressing residents. Calls have been prompted for remedial action.
There were just two options for the state and federal officials. They would either risk breaching the 143-mile dike or release billions of gallons of these polluted water into delicate estuaries.
After the guidelines made post-Hurricane Katrina, the second option was chosen. This resulted with overwhelm of St. Lucie River estuary in the east and Caloosahatchee River in the west.
The pollutants have now been carried to the farms, ranches, golf courses, septic tanks etc. from the estuaries on the east coast of the state, the Indian River Lagoon.
Also, algae quickly caused the pollutants to spread in fresh water too and killed oysters in droves. Other sea fish and sea grasses too were badly hit.
Executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society Mark D Perry said, “These coastal estuaries cannot take this… Enough is enough. This cannot continue to happen. These estuaries are so important to us, our environment and our economies.”
Political leaders have also pledged taking action. Gov. Rick Scott also visited the areas and proposed a $130 million spending for it.