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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of

Comments from our listeners on recent stories on bottled drinking water, population growth, and the ant-repelling herb Tansy.


CURWOOD: And now it's time for comments from you, our listeners.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Malcolm Drake of Grant's Pass, Oregon, heard our recent series on drinking water on KSMF in Ashland. He says that his perspective on water purification has changed, after visiting Latin American cities including Lima, Peru. Where, he says, people buy bottled water for drinking and use the mildly treated but non-potable tap water for washing and irrigation. He writes, "Only a tiny fraction of the water we use needs to be potable, and there's quite a bit of chemical pollution involved with purifying water enough to make it potable. Why should we be paying high costs to purify water, almost all of which is being either flushed down the toilet or bathtub or sprayed on a lawn?"

Allen Cooper called us from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where he listens to WCPN. He feels that our interview with Daniel Este on China's environmental problems would lead most people to believe that the United States leads China in environmental protection. But, Mr. Cooper says, the US lags behind China in at least one key policy.

COOPER: The Chinese continue to try to stop human population growth, while the United States has no policy or program to deal with our runaway population growth. And of course, with too many people, environmental degradation is unavoidable. The US Census Bureau tells us that our population is on its way to doubling in less than 70 years, 80% of that due to immigrants and their descendants.

CURWOOD: And we got a flood of messages from people who heard last week's garden spot with Michael Weishan but who missed the name of the poisonous ant-repelling plant. It's called the Tansy. That's spelled T-A-N-S-Y. Its Latin name is Tanesetum vulgare. It's available through most herb catalogues. And here's Michael's advice on how to use it.

WEISHAN: You just put a few of the leaves wherever the ants seem to be crossing on the trail, and you will have no ant problems at all.

CURWOOD: Incidentally, we've also heard that peppermint leaves and cinnamon ward off ants as well.

You can put some spice into this program by getting in touch with us. Call our listener line any time with comments and questions. The number is 800-218-9988. That's 800-218-9988. Or send us an e-mail at LOE@NPR.ORG. Our postal address is 8 Story Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138. And you can find our Web page at www.livingonearth.org. That's www.livingonearth -- all one word -- .org.



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