The Amazing Flight of Little Ray displayed at 50% of viewport width
June 2018 by V. R. Duin


Little Ray thought his world quite bland,
The same old water, the same old sand.
He watched birds take off and fly
And thought to himself, why can't I?
(“The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”)

Unless controls on water pollution are put in place like those intended by the Clean Water Act and penalties for overfishing are enacted throughout the world, there may be no fish and no fishing by companies or individuals.

Mama Ray and Little Ray are restless. Their minds are distracted by many forms of life-threatening contamination around them; liquid, solid, gas, noise and radiation. Plastic pollutants rank among the worst of them.

Overfishing and loss of habitat are killing entire populations. Without controls and penalties, there may be no fish. Caring companies and individuals should support universal efforts, like those of the EPA.

Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. The intent was to prevent the discharge of pollutants into interstate navigable waters used for trade and travel. The law expanded to isolated ponds, wetlands and dry desert ditches.

Navigable water is vague. Abusive enforcement of zealous interpretations means prosecution, prison time and bankrupting fines for remote discharges without a permit. Permitting takes upwards of 2 years and $250,000.

The health risks that travel with polluting discharges can spread harm. For fair expansion and enforcement, terms of the Clean Water Act of the United States must be defined to allow due process and prevent injustice.

Wastewater treatment plants cannot remove micro-plastic pollutants. These plants may go against goals of the Clean Water Act with their hazardous rushes of water discharge. Other countries are considering bans.

Plastic pollutants never go away. When they are consumed, they destroy life from the inside out. They combine to cause deadly snares. Water pollution that dissolves does not totally disappear.

Fish and other ocean life dine on plastics. When they are served for dinner, they contain undigested plastic waste. Much of the seafood in the United States arrives untested. Many countries test for no type of pollution.

Rays and sharks are on menus. Eating ray or shark meat is unlikely to fight infections. Fish or fish-based products and supplements contain plastic micro-beads for toxic spice.

Catch and release may kill. The time it takes to photograph a trophy fish can result in painful death. Unless the hook and line are removed, dangling tackle may catch on objects or cause deadly entanglements and infections.

People argue about the goodness of rich water. They need to discuss dirty water. Most of the water on earth is filthy. Little Ray joins Elasmodiver in relaying concerns about threats to rays and sharks.

Water pollution causes bacterial diseases. The CDC has The Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases to protect against waterborne illnesses. Cholera problems is a widely known example.

Local health departments monitor the bacteria levels of water. When bacteria levels are high, alerts and bans may be issued. Bacteria can enter the body when water is ingested or enters through wounds.

Animals become infected with disease-causing pathogens. Pests and germs attach themselves to fish from the water in their aquariums or in the wild. These transfer to people from the water in which these fish reside.

There is no cure for some water-borne illnesses. Humans can contract zoonoses by handling dead or diseased fish or from lacerations caused by them. Accompanying bacteria, parasites and viruses are hard to kill.

Nobody is immune from the bad effects of food from toxic water. It can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, headache, nausea, numbness and vomiting. Harmful effects are good reasons not to eat fish.

Ocean life holds secrets. Without controls on water pollution and penalties for overfishing, these secrets could be lost. Studies are under way to learn if sharks' immune systems offer resistance to cancers.

Dirty water causes infections of wounds. Once pathogens enter the human body, they spread. These can be impossible to heal. NSU researchers found sharks and rays have advanced wound-healing abilities.

V. R. Duin graduated from the NSU College of Law under her legal name. Problems are surfacing with antibiotics to treat bacterial illnesses and infections. Could sharks lead to better cures for infections?

Could sharks lead to prevention or cures for cancer? NSU found Novel Changes in Their Immune Cancer-Related Genes. Two genes have counterparts connected to cancers.

Could sharks end side effects and allergic reactions to existing drugs? Celebrants of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel should join Ray and his shark friend in the battle to save these fish for people.

Large populations of plants and animals are endangered. No fishing due to pollution would put an industry out of work, resulting in more jobs lost. Toxins break up animal pairs and damage the food chain.

Sponges and coral can live thousands of years. Greenland sharks may live as long as 400 years. The lives of turtles, mussels, mollusks, whales and some bony fish species can span for hundreds of years.

Proper interpretation, expansion and enforcement of the Clean Water Act is needed. It could bring an end to dirty water. Jellyfish, lobsters and turtles defy the aging process. Filth may annihilate marine keys to longevity.

Plants and animals are killed by foul water. Grouper, swordfish, sawfish and tuna are among the most endangered ocean fish. Grasses and coral that provide ocean meals and protective habitats also are dying.

Radioactive waste may have a lovely glow, but it is not healthy. The hardy water bear withstands radiation. These micro-animals respond to extreme conditions, including dessication and freezing, by undergoing cryptobiosis.

Radioactive effluvium travels along water currents. Enforcement of the Clean Water Act could reduce exposure to high levels of radiation. It can lead to cancer, birth defects, cell and systemic damage.

Toxic effluent is dumped into oceans. Discharges from vessels, oil rigs and offshore construction sites affect oxygen and water quality. They interrupt water flow with dangerous waves and water jets.

Doing laundry sends harmful fibers into the water. These combine with chemical runoff from agriculture, industry, home septic tanks, lawns and storm drains. The result is toxic to humans, aquatic life and pets.

Dredging stirs contaminants in water. It opens navigation passages, extracts minerals and prepares construction sites. Sand dredged from rivers and oceans to dump on beaches may be killing tiny animals under it.

There are costs of testing, cleaning and finding alternatives. Efforts to save the waters of the world include restoration of damaged areas. The goal is to reverse problem conditions and restore quality to ocean life.