|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||21 Sep 2004 05:50:30 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Bering Sea pollution|
Pollution fears threaten a way of life|
Alaska: Reports of tainted animals have the native Chevak tribe reconsidering their traditional and healthy subsistence diet.
CHEVAK, Alaska - Even maps of Alaska often don't identify Kokechik Bay, a small inlet of the Bering Sea in the vast delta between the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. No one lives there except for half a dozen contractors manning a Cold War-era radar site, still trained on the former Soviet Union.
But the bay has always been life itself to a few thousand members of Alaska's native tribes in three nearby subsistence villages.
"Our elders always used to tell us, in times of hardship, Kokechik Bay is the place you go, the place you can rely on even in bad times," recalls Richard Tuluq, tribal administrator of Chevak.
In recent years, however, Tuluq says, people here and members of other Bering coast tribes in neighboring Hooper Bay and Scammon Bay have virtually ceased harvesting Arctic cod, blackfish, clams and other traditional foods from Kokechik.
While they still fish elsewhere, Alaskan natives are increasingly troubled by evidence of contamination in this corner of the million-square mile Bering Sea - source of about half of all seafood caught in the United States.
Amid reports of toxic leaks from the radar station at nearby Cape Romanzof, and of pollutants from distant lands carried here by winds and ocean currents, the natives worry that there is a link to rising adult cancer rates among their people and sharp increases in early childhood illnesses such as pneumonia and chronic infections. They complain of increased encounters with tumors and other mysterious abnormalities in fish, shellfish and bird eggs in the Kokechik Bay region.
for the entire article, see http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/health/bal-te.ms.alaska20sep20,1,5575324.story?coll=bal-health-headlines
-- Lenny Siegel Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041 Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545 Fax: 650/961-8918 http://www.cpeo.org
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