by Jerry Cegelske
April 08, 2005
As to Angela's comments about the cruise industry, yes there are violations going on and some do violate the law. However I would ask; Now that you have pointed out the problem, what is your solution to it?
Mine would be that there be no discharge by cruise ships in the waters of SE Alaska. "How?" you say. By requiring the discharge of all wastes in ports so that they could be properly disposed of at cost plus, by the communities affected by the ships. That way the wastes could be treated and then dumped into the waters of SE Alaska as we currently do with our sewage. As of now I know of no community in Alaska capable of handling the volumes of wastes.
Angela also pointed out the many pollutants including oily waste water, toxic chemicals and photo lab solutions. I have found five gallon buckets of what was once waste oil in the woods where people put it instead of properly disposing of it. What about the cleaning solvents used in auto repair shops? How much of this is properly disposed of? Used oil, old gasoline, much of this has been dumped on the ground in years past, and where did it end up after our heavy rains? It would be interesting to test the storm sewer runoff to check for oils, fuel and other items that run into the ocean from Ketchikan streets. Remember the frequent oil leaks in Ketchikan Creek in years past.
We have been damaging our environment for over a hundred years, the difference is the cruise lines do it differently. The fact that I exist, drive, eat, and recreate means that I take a toll on the environment. However, I can decide to minimize it by taking care of the wastes correctly, fixing my vehicle so it doesn't drip oil or waste gas and other methods.
I agree with Angela that we need to educate our children about the serious littering problem. She may do more to clean up Ketchikan by having her children and others cleaning up their neighborhood than I can on Revilla Road. The problems we have are generational and it will take education to teach kids that the ways of our predecessors were not always the best and we need to change.
Many of the local businesses who have contributed prizes for the cleanup have the locals for their basic income, but the tourists that come annually provide the gravy that helps them contribute to the community. Many of the kids that come back to Ketchikan from college use summer jobs in the tourist industry to get funds to continue their education. Taxed tourist dollars help finance the Borough budget, thus helping to keep property taxes lower than they otherwise would be and fund budget items that otherwise would be cut. Tourists and tourism can be a clean business if people do it correctly, just like many other industries. Think of the seasonal businesses that survive due to the tourist industry, charter fishing, tours, guides, drivers, and other occupations which allow these people to remain residents of the community for the other seven months.
In reply to her question, "Who do you work for again? The Borough or the tourism industry?" I work for the residents of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and will use my position to make life better for the residents of this community, through education, use of the Borough Codes to ensure compliance to community standards, and will even stoop to the bribing of people with hamburgers, hot dogs, sodas, and donated prizes from business leaders of the community to make this a better place for us to live. As many of you have previously noted in other articles, the tourists are here for five months but we have to look at the trash daily.
If you can't help out on Revilla Road on the 16th, feel free to clean up your own neighborhood as Angela is doing, I know of few areas of town or the Borough that couldn't use the help!
Yours for a cleaner Ketchikan,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.