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Removing wetlands : A recipe for disaster

The desire for new buildings has led to an enormous amount of wetland areas being removed in New Orleans. These are natural defences against the effects of storms.....






A disaster that was inevitable?

It is not as if the warnings had not been given. Not days before Hurricane struck, but years ago. The depleted wetlands, the result of the need/desire to have more building space, the fact that parts of New Orleans are below sea level, and inadequate protection ( levees) for anything above a Category 3 Hurricane, all contributed to the disaster. A cross-section of the city of New Orleans can be found here . The location of Lake Pontchartrain can be viewed here .

New Orleans was a very convenient location for commerce. Commerce equates to money and wealth. Environmental issues and problems becomes secondary, it appears, when put alongside the desire to make money. Yet these environmental problems did not go away. The philosophy of turning a blind eye while making a quick buck cam back to haunt the people of New Orleans in a most tragic way.

The loss of wetlands, removed for the construction of new offices and homes, cannot be underestimated. Wetlands are absolutely vital for absorbing and storing floodwaters. They are nature's natural constructions for protection against the ravages of hurricanes. In the past 70 years it has been estimated, by the US Geological Society, that approximately 2000 square miles of wetlands have been removed, by draining the areas. Replace these natural defences with inappropriate man-made constructions, unable to withstand severe hurricanes, and it is not a question of 'if' but 'when' the major disaster would happen.

Revealing Articles .........

http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/wetlands/hurricane1.html

http://www.nola.com/hurricane/?/washingaway/

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2005/08/31/disaster_preparation/index_np.html

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/hurricane-katrina

http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature5/

[end of article]