Rachel Kang Northwood HS 10th Grade
Kauai, a member of the Hawaiian archipelago, has become a chemical wasteland containing genetically-modified crops due to corporations dumping test crops and synthetic pesticides onto the land. Corporations such as BASF Plant Science, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, and Syngenta supply farmers and inhabitants both the GMO crops and the chemicals to protect these crops from bug and weeds. Farmers and inhabitants are ordered to use the chemicals.
In 2010, students from the Waimea Canyon Middle School were evacuated and hospitalized because the GMO test fields managed by Syngenta were releasing 24 types of toxic pesticides into the air near the school. Within the same year in Waimea, a town in Kauai, a GMO test field run by Dupont blew up in red dust and filled the air with toxic vapors and chemical odors. Klayton Kubo, a resident who lived near the location of the blow up, was curious in what the air contained. Therefore, he and 150 of his neighbors warned the use of suspected toxic chemicals when they joined an action lawsuit against DuPont.
The most common GMO toxins that are used on Kauai are alachlor, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, methomyl, metolachlor, paraquat, and permethrin that have been causing concern. Researchers discovered that the pounds-per-acre usage of these pesticides were on average greater than in all states except for North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, and Louisiana. The per-acre usage of permethrin, an insecticide, in Kauai was more than two times greater than in California and more than 10 times greater than the national average. This puts into perspective the enormous amount of pesticides used and released into the Hawaiian atmosphere.
Toxic chemicals like permethrin lead to serious health problems. Exposure to dangerous chemicals in the air are reported to result in vomiting, stinging eyes, birth defects, tumors, and diseases. Chemical and industrial waste disposal companies also release toxins into the ocean, resulting in pollution and endangered species. Trash that is accumulated near the ocean, comes from citizens tossing their trash on the ground. Not throwing one’s trash in the proper place may seem like a minimal consequence, however there are negative outcomes that some are unaware of.
According to CNN, “the ocean’s current is carrying massive amounts of plastic waste to Hawaii’s coast.” Seabirds and sea turtles are harmed by the plastic trash constantly getting thrown into the ocean. Consequently, sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish causing the marine life to suffocate or choke on the waste and result in wildlife to die internally. Ultimately, the more chemicals Hawaii exerts on its land, the worse its environmental condition will become. If marine debris in Hawaii is not limited soon, Hawaii may be a threat to human health as well as wildlife.
<Rachel Kang Northwood HS 10th Grade