National Geographic : 1985 Jul
Members Forum Hazardous Waste "Storing Up Trouble ... Hazardous Waste" (March 1985) was the most informative, enlight ening article I have read on the subject in years. Everyone wants to get rid of toxic waste proper ly, but the same people have the NIMBY com plex-"Not In My Backyard!" Thomas A. Spithaler Evans City, Pennsylvania I was appalled by your picture of the Ben K. Ka zarian (BKK) toxic-waste dump in West Covina. Our family has suffered physically, emotionally, and financially from this dump. Nothing was mentioned about the 19 families who were evac uated because of the explosively high levels of methane and high levels of vinyl chloride, ben zene, and other cancer-causing chemicals. Geraldine Gilman Brea, California Potential explosion from high methane levels caused the evacuationof 21 families. Inspectors later detected vinyl chlorideand benzene. It was impossible to go into detailaboutall the waste sites. Those we cited, with accounts of the tribulationsof the local inhabitants,seemed rep resentativeof our chemical graveyards. As a public-health sanitarian, I have had civic minded citizens call for help in disposing of haz ardous waste legally and appropriately. I am run through a myriad of buck-passing: State Pesti cide Branch, State Health, Dept. of Ecology, EPA, all saying, "Not me." It's no wonder haz ardous wastes get dumped into septic systems, landfills, ponds, and the roadside ditch. John R. Templar Lacey, Washington I was amazed that you did not even mention the most hazardous waste of all: nuclear waste. Althea Reustle Cerrillos, New Mexico We limited ourcoverage to toxic chemical waste, a subject of broadramifications. The problem of nuclearwaste was discussed in our April1979 ar ticle "The Promiseand PerilofNuclearEnergy." The cover picture was ironic in that several haz ardous wastes probably were produced to manu facture the person's protective clothing-from the hard hat to the boots. And the clothing itself probably will be considered hazardous waste once it is discarded. Nick Russian Central City, Pennsylvania Susquehanna River Snaking its way through three states, the Susque hanna (March 1985) ought to remind us of the un deserved gifts we've received from waterways as they etch abidingly across our national land scape. Oh, that men could be as forgiving of in tolerable insults as rivers have been of hazardous waste. A. Wayne Adam, Jr. Ottawa, Ontario A very good portrayal of the river and its envi rons. Pages 382-3 picture a fisherman knee-deep in the stream, a shotgun secured to his waist "in case a duck wings by." Where do his fellow fish ermen go for cover when the man with the gun slips on the algae-slick bottom as he takes aim? Walter T. Assur Falls Church, Virginia Talk about unsafe logging practices. The faller shown on page 364 wouldn't be allowed in the woods here on Vancouver Island. No hard hat, no earmuffs, no safety visor, no visible safety whistle, too loose upper clothing, too tight pants, no faller's pants or chaps, and the straight back cut on that tree probably didn't have an undercut to direct its falling. Your photographer is very lucky the tree didn't tilt sideways toward him. Dick Yates Nanaimo, British Columbia Viking Trail I'm writing to thank Robert Paul Jordan, Jim Brandenburg, Michael A. Hampshire, and the Society for the magnificent article "Viking Trail East" (March 1985). I've never been so captivat ed by a GEOGRAPHIC story as I was with this one! John R. White Owensboro, Kentucky The claim that the name "Slav" is derived from the Latin or Greek word for slave is disputable. In my native Ukraine I was taught that the name derived from slovo, which means "word." The name could also have been derived from the Slavic word slava, meaning "glory." Leo Wysochansky Westwood, Massachusetts As many readershave pointed out, we put the cart before the horse. The Latin Sclavus and Greek Sklabos originallymeant "Slav," borrowedfrom the Slavs' word for themselves, "Slovene." The secondarymeaningwas "slave,"probablyarising from the many Slavs who were captives.