Mississippi has a number of specific programs designed to deal with protecting the environment and reducing threats of global warming. As part of the Ambient Air Monitoring for Criteria Air Pollutants Program, MDEQ regularly tests levels of sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter in the air. The agency has the authority to enforce compliance with state and federal laws. MDEQ also oversees the Hazardous Air Pollutant Monitoring Program that examines levels of volatile organic compounds and carbonyl compounds in the air. The Mississippi Source Water Assessment Program was set up in 1996 to oversee Mississippi's compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, which required all states to identify contaminants in drinking water and to take actions to improve water quality. The AGChem Program was established in 1987 to assess the impact of chemicals used in agriculture on the state's groundwater. The focus has historically been on areas in which pesticides are used extensively. Some of the other programs supervised by MDEQ include the Mississippi Waste Pesticide Disposal Program and the Household Hazardous Waste Program.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in summer 2005; Mississippi, Louisiana, and parts of Alabama were faced with massive cleanups along their coasts. The Mississippi Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan was created to deal with some of these environmental impacts of the storm, including spills of hazardous chemicals, fuels, and oils and with debris from oil pumps that had been destroyed. Katrina damaged a number of underground fuel tanks, leaking additional fuel into the atmosphere. In six coastal counties, Katrina rendered all city water treatment facilities inoperable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated that Katrina generated approximately 45 million cubic yards of debris in Mississippi, with potentially devastating impacts on global warming and climate change. Massive amounts of solid waste had to be dealt with, and 300 debris management sites were set up in affected areas. Millions of fish, crayfish, freshwater mussels, and blue crabs were killed during the storm. Oyster reefs and habitats were destroyed and ecosystems threatened, posing threats for many decades.
sEE ALsO: Floods; Hurricanes and Typhoons; Mississippi State University; Oil, Production of.
bibliography. Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, www.deq.state.ms.us (cited November 2007); U.S. Public Interest Research Group, The Carbon Boom: State and National Trends in Carbon Dioxide since 1990 (U.S. PIRG Education Fund, 2006).
Elizabeth R. Purdy Independent Scholar
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