May 15, 2013

Tom Toles’s May 10 editorial cartoon suggested, based on a May 6 Metro article, that oysters can significantly improve Chesapeake Bay water quality. They can’t. Sufficient numbers of oysters can’t be grown to make any meaningful difference.

Few people grasp the magnitude of bay nutrient pollution, most of which derives from inefficient crop fertilization. Pollution must be stopped in order to improve water quality. “Sopping up” never works. All the money we have spent reducing nutrient discharge from wastewater treatment plants has not improved Chesapeake Bay water quality, and neither will more oysters. Improved fertilization efficiency is the only way to improve bay water quality.

Yes, grow more oysters, but for the right reasons: jobs and a delicious food.

Lynton S. Land, Ophelia, Va.