| Material Information
||"Attack Toxic Waste"
||The Miami Herald, Apr. 20, 1983
||North America -- United States of America -- Florida
||Jake Varn Collection - "Attack Toxic Waste" (JDV Box 54)
||Box 17, Folder 2 ( Task Force on Water Issues, Bills Passed, Articles - 1980s ), Item 42
||Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
18A Thr Miar!: Herald / Wednesday, April 20, 1983 ....
5bc Miami Heratb
JOHN S. KNIGHT (1894-1981) JAMES L KNIGHT. Chairman Emeritus
RICHARD G. CAPEN. Jr., Chairman and Publisher
BEVERLY CARTER, President and General Manager JOHN McMULLAN. Execuiwe Editor
JIM HAMPTON, Editor HEATH J MERIWETHER, Managing Editor
Attack Toxic Waste
SANKIND is messy. Humans use
things and throw them away.
That's nothing new, either. Much'
of what modern 'man knows about his
Ancestors was pieced together, literally,
from ancient man's garbage. .
Skeptics may be' forgiven, then, for
wondering why there's such a fuss late-
ly about "hazardous wastes." Is there
really a threat, or is there simply an ov-
erreaction stirred by environmentalists?
It's a fair question. People need to
know what has changed. They need to
know why the situation today is differ-
ent from that of the past.
'Basically, there are two reasons. One
is obvious: This industrial society's
wastes have grown exponentially while
the land and waters available for their
disposal has shrunk. The result: too
much waste, too little space.
The second new problem is even more
serious: Man cleverly has created new
substances that don't exist in nature.
Many of these substances are toxic.
They kill insects and weeds. They fight
disease. They make possible the wonders
of electronics. The trouble is, many of
these substances can be harmful to man
even in small doses over time.
So there's the rub: One price of indus-
trial civilization and_ efficient agricul-
ture is the production of toxic wastes.
These wastes must be disposed of safely
lest they harm people by insinuating
themselves into air, water, and food.
For Florida, the problem is especially
acute. Most Floridians' drinking water
comes from underground aquifers. If
toxic wastes were allowed to contami-
nate Florida's drinking water, the.state
could experience a public-health calami-
ty of unprecedented proportions .. --,.-:
So Florida must act. The urgency is
underscored by the findings of a legisla-
tive task force on water quality. It found
inadequate monitoring of drinking-
water supplies and inadequate enforce-
ment' of rules against the dumping of
hazardous wastes. The lax enforcement
was demonstrated anew in Dade recent-
ly when wastes were dumped near
Both houses of the Legislature seem
-determined to respond to the problem
during the session now under way. No-
body wants a Love'Canal or a Times
Beach in Florida. Florida ranks fourth
among all states in the number of its
hazardous-waste sites. Yet the state has
no plant for treating and storing these
wastes. That should be remedied.
The Legislature's task is to decide
Show to apportion the considerable cost
of cleaning up existing hazards, prevent-
ing future hazards, monitoring drink-
ing-water quality; and continuing re-
In principle, the fairest *ay to raise
the money is by placing a tax on the
products that produce hazardous wastes.
Granted, this tax might be passed on to
consumers but more or less in propor-
tion to the degree to which they benefit
from these products. General-fund reve-
nues may be needed as well, especially
in building any treatment facility.
Haggling over who pays mustn't be
allowed to delay action this year on haz-
ardous wastes. Whatever the price of a
cleanup, it's cheaper by far than the po-
tential costs of inaction.