National Geographic : 1970 Dec
EKTACHROME of raw sewage into Puget Sound has virtually stopped. I asked Charles V. Gibbs, Metro's director, whether the lake had recovered. "Salmon and steelhead trout are coming in from Puget Sound in increasing numbers, and crossing Lake Washington on their way to spawn upriver," he said. "Where else in this country can you catch salmon and trout in the middle of a city?" "Boundless" Seas Are Polluted, Too A lake, with its clearly defined boundaries, fits comfortably into the human mind. We have no trouble thinking of it as a "thing." And if a thing is damaged, we feel that it can be fixed. But now we realize that our oceans-those "boundless" seas that cover nearly three quarters of the planet-are in trouble, too. "Man puts at least three million tons of oil a year into the oceans," Dr. Max Blumer, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told me. "The yearly total may run as high as ten million tons, which doesn't include tanker wrecks, such as the Torrey Canyon disaster, or production accidents like those off Santa Barbara and Louisiana, either" (pages 754-5). Astounding statements, I thought. But Dr. Blumer is not a man to make extravagant claims for the sake of sensation. He is a senior chemist at Woods Hole. "Unfortunately, most of the spillage hap pens in just the wrong places," Dr. Blumer said. "Spills occur in the coastal waters, where marine productivity is concentrated." Like most laymen, I had thought of oil spills in terms of blackened beaches and dying sea birds. Dr. Blumer assured me that the effects were much more far reaching.