Wednesday, August 5, 2015

News roundup, 8/5/2015

This is a pretty heavy day for Ohio River-related news, so here goes:

A Facebook friend and I had a conversation several days ago about flying personal drones over the Ohio River. Among other things, I said I would not want to fly one near a boat pushing a barge full of hazardous material, and I would not want to fly one in downtown Huntington and accidentally fly it into a building.

It looks like someone had too much fun with a drone in downtown Cincinnati and something bad happened. The article says no one was hurt, but I would not want to be the guy who has to pay for the damages.

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For most of my life, I've looked at various kinds of litter on the banks of the Ohio River. Back in the 1980s, there were a lot more tires on rims and a lot more small propane bottles in the trash I found. On the bright side, my nephews and I had fun using old tennis balls we found in the trash left behind by high water. The brown, partly deflated balls were nice to use for batting practice.

Lately, it seems most of the litter up here has been beverage containers: beer, soft drinks, sports drinks and the like. And it seems to have gotten worse in recent years.

So here's something about how the state of Ohio is using a piece of heavy equipment to remove river trash.

There is a distressing paragraph in this article, however.

In terms of the volume of garbage in the rivers, the Ohio River is one of the worst in the country,” said Pregracke. “It really needs a full-court press for any change to happen.”

I hope the Ohio is the worst in the country, because I would hate to think there is a river whose neighbors treat it worse than the Ohio's does.

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An old flatboat was discovered on the lower part of the river 15 years ago, and it's still in the mud because of the expense of removing it, the technical difficulties of preserving it and the lack of a place to put it.
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This year's unusually long high water season throughout the Mississippi River system had led to an unusually large dead zone at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. The dead zone is caused in part by widespread use of fertilizers on farmland throughout the basin. Environmental scientists call it non-point source pollution. It's non-point because it comes from small amounts of material in a wide area as opposed to a pipe dumping stuff into a river at a specific point.

So what's going to be the long-term result of this, if any? We'll have to see how it works through the scientific community and the courts.