NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A new report is shedding light on just how polluted Louisiana’s waterways are.
The report from Environment America says Louisiana is fourth highest in the nation for volume of toxic chemicals found in our waterways. It adds over 11,000,000 pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into our waters.
That can impact humans and wildlife negatively.
“Cancer, developmental damage and reproductive damage,” said Mackenzie Brown with Environment America. She is warning what could happen if that water is consumed.
The report also says Denka, a plant located in Laplace that produces a chemical found in synthetic rubber, is among the worst.
“They contribute a lot of water pollution. They’re one of the worst in the state for pollution in general but also toxicity-weighted pollutions,” said Brown.
The report also shows how polluted Lake Maurepas is – saying it’s the fourth in the nation when it comes to toxic releases. Brown says the Mississippi River has had problems with pollution for years.
Shamyra Lavigne grew up in St. James Parish, also known in Louisiana as “Cancer Alley” because of the large number of industrial plants emitting pollution into the water. Lavigne says she was always warned about it.
“Growing up we knew we could not drink the water out of the faucet. It was a rule in the house,” said Lavigne. “I would hear my mom complain about the smell of the water.”
Years later it still hasn’t been fixed and Brown says it’s time to strengthen the Clean Water Act which governs water pollution.
“Various mechanisms to strengthen the Clean Water Act to reduce exemptions to allow polluters around it, and so it is harder for these companies to use toxic materials in the first place” is what Brown would like to see done.