News reports continually talk about the ways in which illegal narcotics destroy lives, break up families, ruin careers, take lives, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Have you ever heard of illegal marijuana growers destroying the environment, though?

We had not, either, until just now. Quite frankly, when we think of pot growers, we envision hippies growing a few plants for themselves and their friends… and we also believe that most hippies care what happens to the Earth and would not want to see it harmed in any way, shape or form.

Too bad our little fantasy bears little resemblance to reality! It seems as though the money-hungry, drug dealing folks growing illegal marijuana don’t consider the environment (at all) and cause serious harm with their sloppy farming techniques and extremely poor waste management policies — meaning they leave open bags of fertilizer and pesticides laying around and leave the trash they generate (typical garbage AND human waste) behind once they have harvested their illegal marijuana crops.

Sometimes growers use rural private property, as in Belleview, unbeknownst to the land owner. But most of the gardens are found on U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service or Bureau of Land Management land.

It’s problematic from the public safety standpoint, and also an environmental one.

“Pictures cannot capture what goes on out there,” Nichols said. “Environmentally, it’s a mess.”

Grow sites tear up the ground, use highly-toxic chemicals and leave behind months worth of trash in remote areas where water quality and wildlife are affected, officials say.

Even when gardens are raided, the damage to the environment has already been done.

“They’re destroying our public lands,” said Kevin Mayer, special agent with the Sierra National Forest. “They’re killing wildlife — mountain lions, bear and deer. They’re killing fish. They’re poisoning our water system.” ( source )

The piss poor and quite irresponsible antics of illegal marijuana growers result in chemical runoff often containing pesticides, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, bacteria, etc. All of which throw off the surrounding ecosystem’s delicate natural balance and undoubtedly harm or kill off indigenous plant and animal life.

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