Saturday, October 06, 2007

Clap, Lead, Etc.: Gowanus Canal's Image Takes a Beating

Last week wasn't a good one for the Gowanus Canal's image. In fact, if the Big G were a person, it would be headed back to therapy for some self-esteem related issues. The onslaught culminated yesterday with a story in the Daily News featuring a biology professor calling the strains of gonorrhea and other things in the canal "aggressive" and saying she wouldn't live near the water:
A biology professor whose students found gonorrhea in the Gowanus Canal said the water is so ridden with "aggressive" strains of bacteria she wouldn't live anywhere near it. The news comes as developers are hungrily eyeing the banks of the long-polluted canal between pricey Carroll Gardens and Park Slope for luxury condos.

"I wouldn't, and I wouldn't eat the fish either," said Niloufar Haque, a biology professor at New York City College of Technology, who has tested the canal's water for three years with her sister, Nasreen, also a professor at City Tech. "We were just saying we wouldn't want our child growing up around that water," added Haque.

Besides gonorrhea, Haque and her students have found flu viruses and other "disease-causing" bacteria in the canal's fetid waters. But Haque said she is most disturbed by how virulent the strains appear to be. "These are species of microorganisms that are very aggressive," said Haque. "When you take the samples and analyze them back at the lab it is scary."
The original story that started all this appeared in Scienceline. Our poor, poor canal.



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