“Polluted Paradise” (1949)

Philip Wylie‘s 1949 article on water pollution in Miami probably made as big an environmental difference as any other piece of Florida journalism. “Polluted Paradise” showed a national audience how much of Miami’s sewage was completely untreated and piped straight to Biscayne Bay. Local and state officials admitted that vast amounts of raw sewage were discharged to the Bay while also claiming that Wylie had committed “an injustice to the State of Florida.”

By 1967, the State Board of Health was noting wastewater improvements and thinking differently about Wylie:

A survey conducted by the State Board of Health in 1949 bore  out Wylie’s charges. Conditions were such that unless steps were taken there would be further threats to public health which would  have an adverse effect upon the economic, aesthetic, recreational  and commercial interests of the metropolitan area.

Two decades is about the usual lag time for wide recognition of water problems.


“Polluted Paradise” (1949) — 2 Comments

  1. Not limited to Miami. Pasco County beaches are repeatedly closed because of fecal pollution yet county officals continue to ignore the problem..antiquated septic systems, because clamping down on the polluters could cost them votes…and at $80,000 plus a year they want to continue feeding at the public trough . The public health be dammed.

  2. Sewage is treated on Pensacola Beach but the effluent is dumped into the Sound creating a dead zone.