Letters to the Editor: Using our coastal waters as a DDT dump is criminal. Prosecute the offenders

A discarded, leaking DDT barrel sits 3,000 feet deep on the ocean floor near Santa Catalina Island.
(David Valentine / ROV Jason)

To the editor: It’s disheartening to learn that people treated the ocean as a toxic dumping ground for years, like something straight out of a scene from “The Simpsons.” When I read in your article that scientists compared the amount of DDT waste barrels on the ocean floor near Southern California to the stars in the Milky Way, I couldn’t help but think about how criminal this is.

Through our research at the Marine Mammal Center, we’ve seen how DDT and other toxic pollutants affect marine mammals and are, in fact, the leading cause of an aggressive and deadly cancer in a startling number of sea lions. This pollution has very real consequences for not only marine mammals, but for humans as well, who share the same water and eat the same seafood.

The U.S. Department of Justice should find out who is ultimately responsible for this catastrophe and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.


Jeff Boehm, Sausalito, Calif.

The writer is a veterinarian and chief executive of the Marine Mammal Center.


To the editor: “What else did they get away with?” Do we really want to raise this question about the companies that dumped toxic chemicals into our coastal waters for decades with impunity? What else aren’t we being told?

Are there, say, barrels of nuclear waste leaking in the Mariana Trench, in the western part of the Pacific Ocean? The trench is 1,554 miles long, 44 miles wide and, in places, more than seven miles deep. It is 120 times the size of the Grand Canyon.

How could any kind of toxic dumping have been going on for decades in Southern California and no one spoke up? What kind of monsters are evolving in the deep blue sea? Sounds like an idea for another Hollywood blockbuster.

Jon Mann, Santa Monica