My Letter to the Editor of the Weekly Press, Enfield, NS:
I can’t drink milk. I’m not lactose intolerant. I don’t hate milk. In fact, I had loved milk before I stopped drinking it. I was every dairy farmer’s dream customer. Even when the price of milk increased, I wasn’t concerned. I bought without considering the expense. I would never give up milk; it was like the ultimate drink to keep the body healthy.
Then one fine day two springs ago, I was sitting in my kitchen typing on the computer with the windows wide open to let the fresh air in when a rank yet familiar odour filled the room. At first, I thought someone’s septic tank was being emptied and the breeze was carrying the stench in through the open windows. The smell got so bad I feared our septic tank had backed up.
I sprang from my chair and raced to the bathroom. Everything was fine. I ran outside to see if I could find the source. By this time the smell was so bad, it made me gag. On the doorstep, I looked to the barren corn field across the street to where a farmer was spreading something. It wasn’t white fertilizer pellets. It wasn’t liquid cow manure. It could have only been one thing: that reddish brown dust flying in winds gusting more 70 km/h was sludge better known as bio-solids. To put it in more identifying terms, it was human waste from the sewers of the city of Halifax. And it was blowing directly at my home.
I raced around the house, closing every window and door, then went outside to get the laundry off the line. But it was too late. The clothes, almost dry, were covered in dust and stank as though I’d drop them in a pile of diarrhea. I had to wash them again.
When the kids arrived home from school an hour later, the farmer was still spreading his toxic – so-called fertilizer – human waste, so they had to stay locked up in the house.
The smell eventually left after a few days, but the thoughts of what was spread on the field remains. The corn grown in the field that summer was fed to cows. Those cows produced milk that ended up on grocery store shelves. Thinking about this made me sick, so sick that I could no longer drink the white gold I used to think of as one of the healthiest drinks on earth.
After attending an information session on bio-solids at the Milford Recreation Centre on March 30th, my concerns for the safety of using the toxic waste as a fertilizer in the agricultural industry were confirmed. I will not knowingly consume anything that was produced with sludge. It’s a slow, silent killer that will destroy those who consume it and the land it’s spread on.
It’s interesting to know that Halifax County has banned the use of bio-solids on public parks and recreational areas, yet it has been approved for use on fields which grow our food. That’s ridiculous. I think we should rename bio-solids and call it bowel-solids then maybe consumers will realise what they’re putting in their mouths and lobby against its use.
Learn more about Bio-solids and what you can do to stop the spread of this toxic product on the fields where we grow our food: Nova Scotia Environmental Network