Who knew a beauty contest could be so gross? Activists in St. Louis staged a Hazmat Swimsuit Contest last week to highlight the immense amount of toxic pollution that local coal plants dump into the area’s waterways, an article by Sarah Hodgdon reports.
“Rather than wear swimsuits, the competitors all wore hazmat suits to illustrate that St. Louis area water is too toxic to swim in, let alone drink!” said St. Louis Beyond Coal Organizer Sara Edgar. “All four of the St. Louis area coal plants competed for the title by listing off why that coal plant is the biggest contributor to toxic water in our community.”
Did you know that, for decades, power plants have been allowed to dump toxic pollution into our nation’s waterways, with almost no limits? Coal plants are now by far the largest source of toxic water pollution in the country.
The St. Louis “beauty” contest, along with numerous other events across the country, coincided with the release of a new report about an extremely serious problem that has received shockingly little attention: water pollution from coal-fired power plants. “Closing the Floodgates” documents the problem and highlights the urgent need to clean it up.
“You wouldn’t be able to have an actual swimsuit competition here,” said Sara of their event, which was held on the city’s riverfront. That’s because of the arsenic, lead, boron, and selenium that Ameren Corporation’s coal plants have put into the Mississippi, Missouri, and Meramec rivers.
“We need to fight for clean water so that this is the first and last toxic swimsuit competition in the state of Missouri,” said the “winner” of the Hazmat Swimsuit Contest.