Personal Narrative Essay: The Love Canal

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It may be hard for most people to identify the exact moment in their life when they realized they cared about something bigger than what was right in front of them – the earth and its inhabitants. I, fortunately, do not fall into that category and by a series of fortuitous events—I unintentionally became an environmentalist. It was the summer of 1978, in a little patch of undeveloped land adjacent to a series of canals in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida—my hometown. Every weekend, my Dad would pack a lunch and we would walk to the canal and fish all day…it was the best time of my life...until early August. We walked to the canal about to saddle up to our favorite “secret” fishing spot and it was fenced in and had a big sign that said something to the effect of construction and stay out. No big deal, we moved down and found a new site…the next week houses started to go up and the fish did not seem to be as hungry. Eventually the canal smelled as the fish were dying off and floating quite eerily in the water—that was the end of my summer fishing with my dad. As irony would have it, the next month, we got new neighbors who moved from a little town in New York…show more content…
It is also the name of a fifteen-acre, working-class neighborhood of around 800 single-family homes built directly adjacent to the canal. From 1942 to 1953, the Hooker Chemical Company, with government sanction, began using the partially dug canal as a chemical waste dump. At the end of this period, the contents of the canal consisted of around 21,000 tons of toxic chemicals, including at least twelve known carcinogens (halogenated organics, chlorobenzenes, and dioxin among them). Hooker capped the 16-acre hazardous waste landfill in clay and sold the land to the Niagara Falls School Board, attempting to absolve itself of any future liability by including a warning in the property deed”
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