Abandoned Parks Contaminate the Environment
by Amy Lignor
Areas that were once just a spark in someone’s mind; a place that could be built to bring fun and recreation to visitors, while also making a whole lot of cash, have now hit the headlines as being bad for the environment. Not the zoos of the world, of course, but theme parks. Some that were even built ‘once upon a time’ but then left absolutely abandoned without any clean-up occurring whatsoever.
Just recently a headline came to the surface regarding a Disney project once called River Country. When it comes to the Disney name, of course, people think of all the fun that can be had in California at the “Land” as well as Orlando at the “World.” But there was once a water-park (the first ever designed by Disney) that is now shown as overgrown and decaying.
From 1976 to 2001, River Country did offer guests a place for fun. But this partially-filtered water environment made the park’s environmental footprint completely different than other modern water parks. Now, this particular water system was brought about by the Disney Imagineers (AKA: Disney engineers) who devised a new filtration system that combined the sandy bottom of the park with the water from nearby Bay Lake, which they then dammed up in order to create the natural look of a “lagoon.”
But even with this filtration system, choosing it brought about a death in 1980. Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis was contracted by a child. Amoebas found only in non-chemical-treated waters, like that of River Country, carries this disease. And, although rare, has a fatality rate of over 95%.
River Country did go on after this horror and even continued when bigger, fancier water parks were built. What did take it down completely came with the tragedy of 9/11. Travelers feared flying which basically struck the Disney businesses in a bad way. With the decline in attendance, River Country was shut down in 2002…never to see the light of day again.
It still remains unclear as to why Disney didn’t simply tear town the park, rather than let it rot away. Although theme parks are huge sources of entertainment, environmentalists are hugely concerned that these extensive parks, which take up numerous acreage, are having direct negative effects when it comes to depleting both energy and water.
When it comes to air pollution, a theme park contributes ten-fold. Pollution is caused by the massive amounts of energy needed to keep the park running. Fossil fuels are burned in order to power the rides, heat and cool the buildings, and light lamps that illuminate the place. Carbon dioxide emissions also rise when gasoline is burned to transport people to and from the park.
When it comes to excess waste, attractions that bring in large crowds for extended periods of time who need to eat, drink, etc., bring about a great deal of trash. Some of which can be recycled, which increases the consumption of fossil fuels. Trash that cannot be recycled ends up in a landfill, making the issue of global warming worse as it emits methane while it decays.
Excess water usage is utilized by theme parks, and even though a lot of this water is recycled, the parks require a massive quantity when the rides are first installed. The daily upkeep also puts a strain on water supplies in the area they’re set up in.
Perhaps the most negative issue of theme parks on the world, however, is how much clearing of natural habitats take place in order to build them. Depending on the location, the impact can be absolutely drastic. Most theme parks cannot be built in urban areas; rural areas are chosen that are basically untouched which they then clear in order for construction to proceed. This all leads to clearing trees, leveling land, and leaving various species of both birds and animals homeless.
As continues to rot away, naturalists are keeping a large open eye on what the construction and water systems are doing to harm the environment. What people need to remember is that even while these “fun” areas are constructed, there are definite negatives that come with each and every project. In the near future, perhaps laws will be put into effect that combine nature with these manmade sites, before the “fun” environmental footprint stamps out everything that’s struggling so hard to hang on.
Source: Baret News