Congressman receives pics of Florida pollution from Facebook followers

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Crisis in Florida waterways
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Photo submitted to Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) by Facebook followers to illustrate the pollution in Florida waterways. (Rep. Patrick Murphy via Facebook)

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., asked his Facebook followers for a favor.

Send him disturbing photos of the pollution plaguing his state's waterways so that he could present the images to a Congressional hearing on Thursday. The hearing, which allowed concerned citizens to discuss the problem with members of Congress, wrapped before the gunshots were fired nearby.

Folks were more than happy to oblige.

Rep. Murphy received dozens of photos showing sludge, slicks, and suffering animals. On his Facebook page, Murphy wrote that he wanted to illustrate the "pressing need to find real solutions" about what can be done.

Long-term solutions are being discussed. As for the problem, that seems to have stemmed from water releases from Florida's Lake Okeechobee this past summer. Massive rainfall forced the Army Corps of Engineers to release polluted water from the lake into nearby estuaries. The alternative was to risk a breach of the dike.

Eric Eikenberg, chief executive officer of the Everglades Foundation, remarked that the billions of gallons of polluted water is doing serious damage, including killing oyster beds, driving away fish and raising the level of bacteria in the water, WPBF reported in July.

One possible solution, according to Eikenberg, is the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), which would "create a new outlet south from Lake Okeechobee and allow water to clean naturally as it flows through sawgrass and soil before reaching the Everglades," according to WPBF.

Rep. Murphy is hoping that photos will help inspire people to realize just how bad things have gotten.  He also held up a bottle of polluted water taken from one of the estuaries, according to the Miami Herald.

“When members see this, it gives them a visual and an understanding of how bad the problem is,” Murphy said.

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