The Monongahela River, which has the potential to be a great feature of Morgantown, has become a huge eyesore and even bigger joke throughout the town and wherever else it flows. Once a great body of water for the region, now it’s been ranked as one of the most polluted rivers in the nation.
Ask anyone in Morgantown about their thoughts on the river and they’ll tell you that they’d never let that water touch their skin. The question poses itself: how did the Monongahela come to be one of the most contaminated rivers in the U.S., when Appalachia is supposed to be known for its great outdoors and beautiful landscapes?
In 2010 alone, the river was placed on an endangered list by an environmental group due to the high rates of natural gas extraction in the area. The same group issued a report stating that the cause of the Mon river’s pollution was, “from various activities, including both pre-regulation era and modern-day coal mining. ”
We’ve lived with these practices for too long, and now communities are really starting to feels the effects of it. Some say that it would even take a trillion dollars to fix the contaminated water situation in Appalachia.
But now Appalachians are starting to fight back—as they should—and make the people contaminating their water pay.
For a long time, the plants that were dumping toxic waste into the surrounding water without consequence. Communities are starting to take a stance against this, seeking ways to place limits on the amount of pollution these plants are allowed to emit during particular seasons. It seems a little ridiculous we have to fight over the amount of toxic waste that corporations should be allowed to dump, but maybe that’s just me.
It’s time to start thinking more about the water around us, instead of just writing it off as a lost cause to the coal giants.