The end of all that crap

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — Nearly half way around the world from here a pipe jutting out from posh and pristine town of Delray Beach — home to women who dress exactly alike in floral prints, and men who play golf all day long — has spewed fist-sized chunks of sewage into ocean that is the area’s biggest attraction for the last half century.

Today it stopped, thanks to the efforts of a man with a gift for perseveration and perseverance, his partner who endures and supports that gift, and many others who listened.

Probably the first people who will notice the absence of sewage will be the fishing boat captains, who, when their passengers didn’t catch enough fish headed for the slick of water where schools feasted on the brown cloud that bubbled to the surface.

The next people to notice will likely be the recreational weekend divers who saw it first, when the coral reef they know like the back of their hands, and that is the jewel in the crown of the Palm Beaches, began to be smothered by human-waste-fertlized toxic algae.

The people who didn’t notice for a long time, and who may never notice that the ocean is no longer Delray Beach’s toilet are probably the people who will benefit the most — when they are no longer swimming in their own waste, when the tourist dollars drawn by marine life return and stay.

I probably won’t notice — wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been told — and can still scarcely believe that the right thing happened in my lifetime in that situation, in which many people’s short-sighted interests competed with something bigger, but harder to quantify in immediate gain, perhaps.

But it means even more to me than that, having left my home, cats, mother, and dear little Mini Cooper, as well as access to clean toilets (wherever they flush to), to try to bring change in sub-Saharan Africa through the dissemination of pertinent facts.

The end of all that crap in Palm Beach County proves it can be done.

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One Response

  1. The dear little Mini-Cooper misses you too, but it has a very happy and very conscientious caregiver.

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