Anthony Stante, Coorabell
Some five years ago my doctor diagnosed a serious melanoma. A specialist surgeon removed the melanoma and several suspect lymph nodes from my right armpit. 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 after an upsetting experience at Saturday morning kids soccer at Eureka at the back of the local little school.
It’s 9am, 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 farmer’s 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 the wind is less than 10km/h apparently. But who checks? Our Saturday morning experience highlighted there is a real problem.
Neighbours of ours recently tried to reason with a local macadamia farmer across the road as he continues 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, who are very concerned about what might be happening to their roof collection of 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. STOP poisoning us.