To the Editor:
I wanted to share some thoughts with you, as I watered my lawn recently, on the issue of “who cares?” Recently, a RIPDES permit was issued by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) to the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC). The permit allows RIAC to discharge pollutants into the storm water runoff that empties into the Buckeye Brook Watershed at Warwick Pond and Buckeye Brook. This is the first enforceable permit for storm water runoff issued to RIAC since the 1987 requirement became law.
With this news, you would think there would be much fanfare and front-page stories. There would be interviews sought after from R.I. government officials, RIDEM officials and, last but not least, environmental organizations. But none of these actions have taken place. So again I ask the question: Who cares?
My wife and others have told me that I must understand and accept the fact that although the pollution issue is my top priority, it may not be so with other people and I should accept that. I understand it but find it very difficult to accept it and this is why.
I was with a group of people that is working on a project involving the storm water runoff problem relating to Warwick Pond. The discussions took place on Lake Shore Drive at the bridge over where the water from Spring Green Pond flows into Warwick Pond. There was a family at the bridge; a father, mother and two children. The children were sitting on the edge of the bridge pointing and laughing, as the herring that came to spawn were thrashing in the water. The father must have overheard our conversation and realized I was a member of the Buckeye Brook Coalition. He turned toward me and said thank you. I must have looked at him with an expression of, what are you talking about. He pointed at the water with both hands outstretched and said thank you for your efforts to save this so that my children can enjoy what I had when I was growing up.
Each time I feel frustrated dealing with issues involving pollution and with the lack of urgency by others, I remember that family and those children’s smiles as they enjoyed the environment. Maybe, just maybe, if we all cared a little more about other issues than our own, we would create an environment where we would care more for each other.
Well, that’s enough rambling for today; my lawn is ready to float away.
Living in the Buckeye Brook Watershed and a member of the Buckeye Brook Coalition.
Philip L. D’Ercole