Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Salt Attack

So, it's winter in Canada again and we all know what that means! Rock salt is out in abundance. I know I've ranted about this nasty, toxic crap before,
but this morning's walk to and from swim practice got my blood boiling again.
So let's talk about the weather. It's minus 14 outside with a wind chill that makes it feel closer to minus 30. What happens to water when it gets below
zero? Anyone? Oh, it freezes! What happens to water when it's minus 14 outside? It stays frozen. Technically if one had an ice storm before it got so cold
out it could be slippery, but right now in Waterloo, it is not icy. In fact, the sidewalks are covered by a pretty fluffy layer of snow. Now, in order
to clear one's sidewalk when there is 3 or 4 inches of snow on it, one uses a shovel. (For anyone who doesn't know, you can pick one of these amazing tools
up from Canadian Tire, Zellars, Home Depot...you get the idea). Then, one goes outside with scarf, mitts and hat and their brand new shovel and you clean
your sidewalk. Well, at least that is what you think most people with some commonsense would do. Unfortunately, people in Waterloo-and most of Southern
Ontario for that matter-seem to be lacking commonsense. Instead, they go outside and dump rock salt on to the snow in hopes that it will evaporate. Has
it evaporated yet? How many times have you done this? Did you not notice that the once fluffy, light, non-threatening snow turns into heavy, sloppy slush
that then freezes into the very thing you were claiming to get rid of? That is right! It turns into ice, which you didn't have in the first place. You
just made ice! Now that we've had our science lesson, let's move on to the wonderful effects of rock salt.
Rock salt is toxic. It is a poison that leaks into the earth, which then in turn seeps into our water systems, which we drink and then it floats through
out blood stream. Rock salt is a cancer causing agent. It not only hurts humans, it seriously damages plants and animals as well. If we go back to grade
two and remember our lesson about the eco system-are you remembering-we will remember that humans are at the top of the food chain and we eat everything. (Can you picture that circle of little children with their arms outstretched with colourful yarn reaching from their hands, creating this giant web? That is the food chain! Keep that visual in mind for the duration of this entry). That everything
that we eat is eating the everything that the toxic rock salt has soaked into. Is anyone figuring out what I am saying here, or do I have to be more forward?
Rock salt also destroys inanimate objects. Cars, boots, pants, roads, sidewalks...they are all eaten away by salt. It erodes stuff people! Haven't you ever
noticed when you go for a walk the white grime that sticks to everything? That is salt and it is eating your everything! This is assuming people actually
walk anywhere. Maybe I'm giving the general public too much credit. I forgot we're all too much in a hurry to walk-we drive everywhere. Don't get me started
on gasoline. lol
Now here is my biggest concern since it effects me directly every day. The salt ruins my dog's feet. Poor Jetta is always limping whenever we walk places.
Sure, I slap her boots on her paws, but is that really necessary? It is a traumatic event for her to wear her boots-I don't know any dog who likes to wear
them. I almost carried her home from practice today because the salt was so bad. It felt and sound like we were walking in a gravel pit. Can we say a bit
excessive? Why is the university putting salt down on snow? They have little plough thingies they can drive around and push the snow out of the way. No
one can slip on snow! It's snow! If it's cleaned properly and maintained, no one will fall and break their necks.
Now granted, there are times when things do get slippery and it is necessary to have some form of ensuring that people do not hurt themselves. It's called
sand! In Northern Ontario, most often, sand is used to create traction. It's cheaper and it doesn't saturate the earth with poison! So what, you have to
clean it up afterwards. Quit being so bloody lazy. There are other alternatives I've read about as well, but I am not completely sure of their names and
effects so I won't mention them here. I now if you google "rock salt" and such things, you will discover its dirty little secret. My roommates and I bought
stuff from the pet store that is pet friendly. It takes the ice off just as easily as salt does and it doesn't leave as much of a mess. It's not toxic
and it doesn't hurt Jetta. She's not afraid to walk out our front door.
People need to be more aware of what they are doing to themselves and the environment around them. The weather we've been having this winter should be a
good indicator of that. Don't believe me? Ask the polar bears about how they feel about being placed on the endangered species list.

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