In yet another instance of accidental leakage of industrial toxic waste, the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency to control the situation. The decision was taken after a “significant leak” was reported from a phosphate plant in Manatee County, Florida.
The concerns were raised when a leak was found in a large reservoir “Piney Point”, full of toxic waste water that was used to dump use less biproducts from an old phosphate plant. BBC reported that around 300 homes near the Tampa Bay in Manatee were evacuated urgently to avoid a possibility of flood from the pond.
The seepage was located more than a week back and was monitored. The local news paper Tampa Bay Times reported that the liners of the Piney Point were checked in the past on multiple occasions and had been found to be faulty. There were potential cracks pointed out in July, October and December last year. There were some complains from organisations pointing out the mismanagement that existed on part of the government as well as the companies.
Governor DeSantis however, clarified that the water was not radioactive but the measures had been taken to avoid any “real catastrophic flood situation”. Many attempts to fill the hole with rocks and boulders have been unsuccessful and there is a need for more funds to be released to facilitate the process. There is an immediate need for large pumps and cranes in the region to ensure swift steps. Water is being pumped out of the pond at a reported 33 million gallons a day but there is scope for better efforts.
According to the Centre for Biological Diversity, the water from the pond contains high levels of phosphogypsum, carginogems and other heavy toxic metals however the state officials continue to deny the toxic nature of the water and have highlighted the need for evacuation to prevent floods.
The incident raised questions about the responsible behaviour on behalf of factories dumping waste as well as state efficiency in checking immoral behaviour. Environmental concerns have been highlighted by organisations stating the Florida has continued to be ignored by the environmentalists and there is a need for proper steps to check such situations in future. The need for a system to ensure proper waste management is realised all over the world. Yet, the execution seems to be lacking. This incident is a reminder of the real dangers that reckless waste dumping can lead to.