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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973

Toxic Poisons will pollute water

Toxic Poisons will pollute water

The gross amounts of toxic pesticides and herbicides that have been released in Vietnam will eventually find their way as unbroken compounds into the water: Poisons — picloram, cacodylic acid, CS and 2:4:5T — may have raised the toxicity levels in streams and soils to the extent of setting the stage for the population's future sickness and ill health wherever people live. The poisonous substances will tend to accelerate the growth of algae and bacteria, depleting the oxygen.

The overriding effect of the war damage has been the destruction of mature, rich and highly diverse biological formations. These climax ecosystems, as they are called, have existed for many years in a state of balance. The bomb craters, the clearings, ploughing and hillside erosion have so significantly altered the land forms in many areas that quite different species of plants and animals will be permitted to grow.

Thus, nature must begin all over again and the early stages of regrowth will feature a very simple environment which will have animal and plant species that are reduced in variety, quality — and often — in number. As biologists have shown, the simpler an environment the more dangerous becomes the maintenance of such a fragile community

The extensive destruction caused by defoliation, bulldozing, and bombing will certainly leave far greater and longer lasting effects on the land than earlier primitive forms of clearing the jungles.

The evidence that has already come to light, despite many classified military documents that have been withheld from the scientific community, is unmistakable; the US, wittingly or errantly engaged in a policy to destroy the lands and waters of Indochina.

Aerial shot of a bomb

The bombing of Indochina has amounted 10 perhaps the most massive excavation project in mankind's history, ten times the excavation of the Suez and Panama Canals combined.