Anthony Stante, Coorabell.
Some five years ago now, my Lismore doctor diagnosed my serious melanoma. Then a specialist surgeon cut the serious melanoma from my upper arm and several suspect lymph nodes from my right arm pit. So far, I am one of the lucky cancer survivors. Others in the area haven’t been so lucky.
The same doctor told me recently he and several of his northern rivers colleagues avoid drinking town water from local storage dams. They only drink bottled water. They put the higher than normal incidence of ALL CANCERS in our region down to toxic runoff from local macadamia farms.
With our regional high rainfall, fungicides and pesticides are washing off sprayed trees and leaching into our water supplies. Poisoning our waterways and critical storage dams. Sprays are wafting with the winds into neighbouring properties, roofs and home tank water storages.
My doctor’s theory on higher than normal cancer incidence resonates with me after an upsetting experience at Saturday morning kids soccer at Eureka at the back of the local little school. It’s 9am, here we were on the hill watching our kids on a calm clear blue winter morning. Macadamia trees are right on the northern school yard boundary. We could hear the farmers tractor sprayer next door as he was doing his toxic work. With the sun coming up to the east, we could see with absolute horror a waft of toxic spray clearly coming over the playing fields kids and parents.
I decided there and then to jump the fence and confront the farmer. First he got shirty with me for being on private land. I asked him to please stop spraying and he refused. I threatened to call the police and he stopped (for now). How often did this happen with the school kids playing on their fields? Who knows?
It was a relatively clear calm, clear day. A day when farmers are supposedly allowed to do their spraying safely. If wind is less than 10kmh apparently. But who checks? Our Saturday morning experience clearly highlighted there is a real problem.
Neighbours of ours recently tried to reason with a local macadamia farmer across the road as he continued to spray his toxic mix with little consideration for those living close by. He was not even willing to rationally discuss the situation with his neighbours. Neighbours who are very concerned what might be happening to our roof collection and rainfall water storage tanks.
Our message to farmers needs to be clear. If you are unable to grow your nuts in an organically sustainable fashion without toxic fungicides or pesticides, we DO NOT want your industry here poisoning our drinking water and wider environments.
Our kids and the rest of your neighbours deserve better. Please STOP poisoning us.