Sugarcane Nightmare:

Our Children must not live in a Hazard Zone!

Florida’s Palm Beach County braces for its annual “burn season,” which begins each year in October and runs for six months at least through March to as late as May.  The Florida sugar industry begins its harvest season for 400,000 acres (625 square miles) of sugarcane fields.  Assuming a six-month burn season, this means there were approximately 43 fires per day in 2019.  During the burning, walls of fire rise from 30 to 40 feet in the air, and then create smoke plumes reaching over a half-mile high, stretching as much as 26 miles from the actual burn sites, around four small Black and Latino communities in Palm Beach south of Lake Okeechobee — Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay and Canal Point.  Hendry, Glade and Martin counties are also targets.  This is all designated as part of the “Hazard Zone.”

Roads become impassible.  Children walk to school wearing trash bags to protect themselves from the noxious “Black Snow” which bombards everything in the area.  The greasy, sticky, toxic ash accumulates on parks, schools, roads, hospitals, restaurants, and shopping areas.

Smoke filters into people’s homes, schools and hospitals.  Schools stock up on asthma inhalers.  Air conditioner and water filters become clogged.  Still-lit embers sometimes rain down from the fields.  Flowers die and gardens are poisoned.  Children wheeze and cry, and adults cough when they breathe.  Everything stinks.

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