Porites - coral as building material

Michael Risk riskmj at mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Thu Aug 1 10:12:11 EDT 2002

I think the responses to date have pointed up two aspects:
        -there is a need for local education, and
        -there is a large amount of ignorance as to what really happens
with human waste.

My original posting was NOT in any way intended to imply that we should
ignore the use of corals in septic tanks. I do believe, however, that "we"
(coral reef scientists) need to prioritize impacts, otherwise we will be
ineffective. There is a lot of that going on right now, as "managers" tend
to blame global change for what clearly are local impacts. (The fecal
bacteria findings in Florida are good examples.)

BTW: a septic system includes an effective leach field. Reading between
the lines of your posting, it is apparent that you are really dealing with
latrines, with hunks of coral chucked down them...argh...So here I urge a
set of priorities:  it will be less damaging to the reef to use coarse
rubble than live coral.

The other take-home message is that, at the local level, laws are usually
ineffective. We should push for policy that combines lots of carrots
and a few sticks. $10 subsidy for lining septic tanks with rubble-double
that for a leach field.

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