Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Linking good human health to good agricultural practices in Hawaii

Linking good human health to good agricultural practices in Hawaii

A Startling Letter To The Editor of The Garden Island Newspaper On Kauai!

 Home News Opinion Mailbag Letters for Jan. 26, 2016 The Kauai Garden Island Newspaper.

Park trip shouldn’t be a health risk
On Thursday, Jan. 14, around 2 p.m., I was driving back from Polihale with friends when I realized how dangerous this regular getaway is. When I was on the straight stretch of road before the landfill, I saw a massive tractor with big wheels and a boom spraying a waist-high crop of corn about 50 feet from the highway. The wind was carrying the spray across the highway and I barely had enough time to roll up my windows.
All the people in my truck got blasted and we could taste it in our mouths as we drove by. By the time I got to Hanapepe, I had to pull over and ask a friend to drive because I started to get blurred tunnel vision, along with a massive headache and nausea.
Friday morning, my eyes are struggling to focus as I write this letter. I woke up with a heavy chest and sore throat, same as my fellow passengers. I’m eight months pregnant and the feeling that I’ve been poisoned is terrifying.
I have been going to the Polihale since I was a kid, and now I fear for my health and the health of my unborn child just driving to a place that is a sanctuary for me and a public state park. I fear for all the pregnant mothers unknowingly getting poisoned as they try to seek solace in a sacred place. I fear for all the children who are so vulnerable and innocent and should not be subjected to breathing in chemicals on their way to play in clean water. I fear for everyone else who is doing the same. Wouldn’t a prudent first step be to create buffer zones to protect people from chemical drift?
Where is the political backbone to make this happen soon? As a steward of the land, a mother, and carrier of our future generation, I’m outraged that public land is leased to agrochemical companies that have no regards for the future health of our island, and its people. Why should we be at risk just going to the beach?
Saisha Whitlock