NAPLES DAILY NEWS: Smell Naples and die

Naples Daily News: Written by Michael Finkel. May 3, 2018.

Naples promotes itself as a special place, with pleasant winters, beautiful beaches and clean Gulf water. However, red tide now threatens this ideal Naples and our economy.

Red tide is caused by a massive bloom of algae that comes down the Caloosahatchee River and drifts southwards into proximity to the beaches. The red tide produces an airborne toxin that produces coughing and eye irritation miles from the beaches. At its worst, a fish kill adds the odor of decaying fish corpses with each wave.

Our newspapers discuss red tide frequently and a local television station now includes a red tide report in its weather segment.

Red tide can be ameliorated, if we take action! Diverse sources corroborate several connected activities: water with excessive fertilizer is discharged from Lake Okeechobee into rivers with the red tide blooms; human meddling with the natural flow of water into the Everglades is done to permit the sugar industry to grow in the natural drainage areas, and the sugar industry is profitable only because of minimum price guarantees and prohibition of cheaper imports.

The sugar companies donate to high-ranking politicians. Their protection sustains the industry. Gov. Rick Scott received $980,512 and Sen. Marco Rubio received $486,765 in his failed presidential bid.

Elected officials from the cities, counties and state government from Southwest Florida counties need to tell the politicians protecting the sugar industry that enough is enough.

It was once said of Naples, Italy, “See Naples and die.” This has changed to “Smell
Naples and die.” Do we want this said of our Naples? Do we want to lose the tourists
and seasonal residents? The time for talk and platitudes is over.

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