For lovers of seafood it’s a bonanza. Thousands of blue crabs stacked on top of each other in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay, easy prey for those on the hunt for dinner. The phenomenon fills stomachs with such joy that locals call it the “crab jubilee”. But the joy masks a grim reality.
For decades, America’s largest estuary, which is fed by more than 150 rivers and streams from four states, has been treated like one great big sewer. Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, human waste and heavy metals from homes, farms and factories have washed into the rivers that feed the bay, polluting a national treasure with a deadly cocktail of toxins and excess nutrients.