Miami's Ten Worst Environmental Scandals This Year

Turkey Point's cooling canals are leaking radiation into Biscayne Bay, a new study confirms.
Turkey Point's cooling canals are leaking radiation into Biscayne Bay, a new study confirms.

The very concept of "Florida" is bad for the environment. America saw the Everglades, shining, glorious, and pristine, and agreed to put people — trash-burning, alligator-punching, Panda Express-eating people — smack in the middle of the area. Florida became a state 172 years ago and has been shoveling vomit and oil runoff into the Everglades for 172 of those years.

But with all of that in mind, 2016 has been a particularly insane year for the Florida environment, and Miami in particular. At times, the actions of the state's ecosystem seemed to confirm that the Gaia theory — which states that the Earth is a living being and will sentiently punish those who harm it — might actually be true. Humans were horrible to one another this year, and Mother Earth might legitimately be done dealing with us.

It makes sense that she'd wipe out Floridians first: Our ocean turned green, mosquitoes tried to kill us, and somebody poisoned all the dolphins.

With 2016 drawing to a much-needed close, here's a recap of the ten most insane environmental travesties of the year:

Environmentalists are concerned about FPL's plans to expand the nuclear plant at Turkey Point.
Environmentalists are concerned about FPL's plans to expand the nuclear plant at Turkey Point.
Photo via EPA

1. Turkey Point is dumping nuclear waste into Biscayne Bay: In March, Miami-Dade County released a study showing that Florida Power & Light's nuclear power plant in Miami is likely dumping thousands of gallons of possibly radioactive wastewater into the bay. Analysts found 200 times the level of tritium, an isotope related to nuclear power production, floating around in the bay.

Toxic algae and garbage choke a Florida waterway in this recent photo taken by an advocacy group.
Toxic algae and garbage choke a Florida waterway in this recent photo taken by an advocacy group.
photo courtesy Florida Citizens For Clean Water

2. The Treasure Coast's waters turned into green slime. Was this a plague? This might have actually been a plague. If the Florida Legislature won't stop Big Sugar companies from polluting the state's water supply, perhaps an act of God will.

Miami's Ten Worst Environmental Scandals This Year
Pixabay

3. Then all the mosquitoes tried to kill us. The Zika virus hit Miami's Wynwood neighborhood midway through the summer, and once the virus transferred to Miami Beach, it's made a seemingly permanent home there. And then...

Protesters organized to demand the county stop spraying naled over Wynwood in August.
Protesters organized to demand the county stop spraying naled over Wynwood in August.
Photo by Karli Evans

4. The county didn't really warn anybody that the pesticide it was spraying, naled, has some serious health concerns of its own. It took a New Times story for anybody to begin warning people that it wasn't really a good idea to stand under the pesticide planes and breathe in wafts of chemicals. (Naled is a neurotoxin that might be linked to birth defects in children and other diseases. It's banned in the European Union.) Few people were obviously sickened, but protests ensued, including a few massive ones outside Miami Beach City Hall.

Scott wants to stop the "Stop Trump"-ers.
Scott wants to stop the "Stop Trump"-ers.
photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

5. The state Department of Environmental Protection agreed to let polluters dump more cancer-causing chemicals in the water supply. We can only assume Gov. Rick Scott celebrated by driving behind an ice-cream truck and slapping cones out of little kids' hands.



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