Thursday, October 7, 2004
Local Man Needs Bone Marrow
Ivo Farris, a Seaside resident and family man, succumbed to chronic myeloid leukemia on July 9, 2004. As with all of the many bone marrow diseases, Farris’ leukemia could have been treated had he found a matching marrow donor.
More than 30,000 people live with deadly bone marrow diseases. The disease leaves the patient unable to make new bone marrow, which makes new blood cells. To survive, the patient needs a transplant from a donor with a matching marrow type.
Ivo Farris’ situation underlines a serious gap in the National Marrow Donor Programs, which list only 10 percent of ethnic minorities as potential donors, making a correct match for many patients rare. In response to this, Farris’ friends and family have put together the “Ivo Farris Memorial Marrow Drive,” the first marrow drive in the county that targets ethnic minority communities.
In all cases, siblings make the best donors to bone marrow patients, but in 70 percent of cases there is no family match. By expanding the national donor databases into local minority communities, matches will be more frequent and accessible, saving thousands of lives.
The drive will take place at the Boys and Girls Club in
Seaside this Saturday at 10am. To volunteer, participate or
donate, call Lisa Fitzgerald or Vu Myers at 655-5520.
Cruise Ship Law Lacks Teeth
A widely lauded measure to control pollution from cruise ships signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in late September actually has little enforcement authority, according to one of the law’s backers.
The law against dumping of sewage—treated and otherwise—from cruise ships in state waters three miles from shore depends on the honesty of cruise operators to be effective.
“The primary enforcement mechanism will be reporting,” says Teri Shore, program director at the Bluewater Network, an advocacy group based in San Francisco. “The cruise lines will have to report if they discharge into state waters. Unfortunately the state of California does not have patrols out there to see if they’re discharging. Nor does the Coast Guard...the enforcement scheme is not as strong as it should be.”
The bill was written by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). It went along with previous bills against incinerating garbage from cruise ships and dumping bilge water.
Simitian thinks the $25,000 potential fines are a hefty deterrent.
“I think it has teeth,” he says. “Let me assure you, the industry vigorously opposed this.”
One argument from the industry lobby was the notion that many coastal cities discharge waste that’s not as well treated as what comes out of a ship with 5,000 well-fed passengers. At sea, the operators contend that the waste quickly dilutes. Likewise, local cities such as Pacific Grove have had well-publicized problems leaking raw sewage into the sea.
“That’s a problem, but we don’t think the fact that municipal systems having trouble gives cruise ships free reign to dump,” Shore says. “Our position is dilution is not the solution to pollution.”
Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) also introduced a federal measure against sewage dumping by cruise ships in a 12-mile coastal zone. The bill has 40 co-sponsors but has not progressed rapidly through the legislative process.
There is language in the draft management plan for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to prevent sewage dumping in the federally protected waters offshore, but that plan has not been finalized. The Sanctuary measure would enforce the rules by checking logs for when a ship opens its discharge pipes.
“The Sanctuary is not protected at this point,” Shore says.
So lacking were protections against sewage dumping in recent years that the Monterey City Council banned one cruise operator after learning it broke its promise not to dump sewage and released some 36,000 gallons within Sanctuary waters off Big Sur in 2002.
Cruise ship visits to Monterey have increased from four a year in 2002 to 16 last year, due in part to jittery tourists who’d rather cruise offshore than go overseas where Americans are no longer widely welcome. [AS]