Mainly from American movies I have the implanted notion that rivers in America, particularly in the West, run wide, clean and have deep pools. When Big Gordon and I fished wee Scottish streams a 2 pound trout was a whopper, and rarely seen or caught, I often used to harbour a notion that fishing the wild undisturbed American rivers for trout would be so natural, wild fish, in wilderness, you, a fly rod, a camp fire, fresh fish. It would have been like fishing Scotland's streams in the 17th century, only the catch would be comparable to catching a good sized salmon. I had no notion of cougars or bears disturbing this idyll. What did disturb this idyll, was the BBC world service, I heard a report about mercury in all of America's rivers, turns out 291 rivers had fish that had mercury and of these 1 in 4 exceeded EPA guidelines. Gees I said in an America accent this is new, not so, papers were being produced in 2003 (and perhaps earlier) to recommend reductions in mercury emissions from coal fired power stations. I knew about gold mines and mercury and the infamous Cisso corporations poisoning of Minamata bay in Japan in the 50s and 60s, but coal fired power stations?  It is true, it's what the world service reported and of course I have googled it since. So that pristine wild west environment of childhood movies is a pricked balloon, I am surprised by the Americans though, where there's a problem the solution can often make money. I am guessing the power companies were not made to clean up and or the capture of mercury in hot gasses is difficult ie expensive in a limited market. So when in America eat steak, it's only full of steroids and antibiotics !! Does Chinese coal contain mercury? perhaps the poor will inherit the earth !

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