Thursday, November 26, 2009

Up shit creek

It's a shame to see that the mighty Manawatu River, the old man who carved the Manawatu Gorge, is among the most polluted rivers in the Western world. Frogblog is rightly doing their nut on the matter, making me give pause to the free range cows comments I made earlier in the year.
Under a system measuring oxygen changes in water, the Manawatu has by far the highest reading, almost twice as much as the next worst. The Manawatu measured 107. Anything over eight is considered indicative of an unhealthy river ecosystem. A measurement of 0–4 is considered healthy.

I grew up alongside the Manawatu. I have toured Palmy's sewerage plants as a kid, never realising quite how much ended up tipping into the river. The Mangaone stream has long been recognised as befouled, but as a kid never realised just why it was that way. I assumed the water was bad in the same way as the water beneath Ketitahi Springs in the Tongariro National Park was fouled.

It turns out the Mangaone is not naturally bad, but merely part of the run-off from Palmy's oozing crap. 75,600 kilometres cubic metres of crap a day is allowed to be discharged into the Manawatu River. That's just under one square metre of crap per Palmy person per day. And Feilding somehow manages to have a hugely disproportionate leeway, which is permitted to throw in about double that per head of shit into the river further upstream.
* Farm runoff from fertilisers, and animal waste such as cow dung and urine, leach into the river.
* Treated sewage discharged by councils
* Treated industrial effluent including wastewater from Fonterra, New Zealand Pharmaceuticals, Tui Brewery
* Sediment washing into the river from overgrazed farms or eroding countryside alters the natural habitat for native bugs or fish
I'd like to know how the scientists tell the difference between human and animal byproducts. There's a lot of nitrogen in human piss too. Fonterra have Longburn, the Pharm boys are probably Bunnythorpe with Tui down the road at Mangatanoka.

It would be interesting for someone to do a graphic of the Manawatu's toxin levels taken from the source up in the Tararuas down to the Tasman Sea at Foxton. That would put some blame where it was due.

Poor bloody Foxton Beachers. No digging for toheroas next year. Whitebaiting mustn't be so much fun either. As for Palmy, I think old man Manawatu will have the last laugh as the gorge funnels the wind over the stagnant banks and wafts it over the city. Nothing worse than Old Man BO.