Wandering Iris Tuesday Pik – Picher, Oklahoma

This week is not a happy Pik, but it’s a story that needs to be told.  Picher Oklahoma is one of America’s most polluted places and includes the small town of Cardin, 2 miles to the southwest.  The pollution is due to the mining of lead and zinc.  A study in 1996 showed lead poisoning in 34% of the children in Picher.

To add insult to injury, it was hit by an EF4 tornado in 2008.  The last class to graduate from the High School was in 2009.  There were 11 students graduating.

Picher and Cardin are now ghost towns.  These photos tell the story.

 

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These hills are are piles of slag, left overs of the extensive mining.

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14 thoughts on “Wandering Iris Tuesday Pik – Picher, Oklahoma

  1. This is part of the Tar Creek Superfund site, one of our Nation’s worst environmental disasters and community tragedies. Posted on the EPA website, “It should be emphasized that the Tar Creek site has become not only a state and federal issue, but also tribal. The Quapaw Nation and a group of seven other small tribes in Ottawa County own 80 percent of the land that makes up the Tar Creek Superfund site.” There are film documentaries about it too and still, many people have never heard about this. Thank you for sharing this very important story. Awareness is the first step towards change.

  2. It is appalling that mining companies are ‘allowed’ to make massive profits and leave this mess behind. This is also happening in South America, India and elsewhere – tribal groups are driven from their ancestral lands by these greedy companies. Thank you for sharing this story, Iris.

  3. I find these photos incredibly sad. The companies have come in, used and abused the people and earth, and just left it abandoned and uncared-for.

    Thanks for sharing.

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