The agricultural industry’s chemical purveyors, Monsanto included, pride themselves on being “sustainable,” but time and time again we see that these promises don’t exactly hold water.
Case in point: the latest incident of large-scale ecological harm caused by agricultural chemicals, this time involving a relatively modest leak of over 165 gallons that caused an immense amount of damage to wildlife in one of Virginia’s most beautiful natural areas.
While Monsanto and other chemical companies scramble to defend their products from accusations of tampering with scientific and health-related evidence, the United Nations recently said (to little fanfare) that synthetic pesticides are not needed to “feed the world” after all.
And now, what happened in Virginia could cause even more people to re-exmaine the necessity of “modern” agriculture’s chemical-based model.
Agricultural Chemical Kills Off Tens of Thousands of Fish
According to a report from the Virginia Department of Health, over 40,000 fish were found dead following the leak of an agricultural-use chemical in the Roanoke, Virginia area, which is a popular outdoor destination area near the Appalachain Trail.
The chemical in question was found to be Termix 5301, a surfactant (detergent-style substance) that is typically added to pesticides and herbicides before they are applied to crops, as noted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
It reportedly leaked from a punctured container on the property of Crop Production Services, the responsible company, and was then washed into Tinker Creek via rainfall.
Among the fish species that were killed included rock bass, largemouth bass, sunfish, smallmouth bass, bullhead catfish, suckers, margined madtoms, darters and more. Considered a “significant incident” by the department, the fish die-off is believed to be one of the larger ones in the state’s history.
The company responsible for the spill is Crop Production Services, which offers products from all of the major chemical manufacturers including BASF, Dow, Monsanto, DuPont and others. According to the department they have taken “numerous actions to address the fish kill.”
“We are continuing to count the fish because that does figure into whether there’s a penalty against the company and we will be continuing to monitor the water quality,” Virginia Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Bill Hayden said.
While the penalty has not been decided yet, the lives of even more animals have already been taken by the chemical spill according to local residents about five miles downstream from the incident, who reported different types had died off as a result of the spill.
“There’s no birds, there’s no insects, and I hope that doesn’t mean that something very, very serious has happened,” homeowner Stephen Rossi said to local station WSLS 10.
The DEQ added that it may take several years for the stream to return to normal, once again shedding light on the serious damage these agricultural chemicals are capable of causing.