Oceans as dumping grounds of hazardous chemicals
Filed Under: World | Posted: 05/06/2007 at 7:50AM
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In what is highly known as the biggest sanctuary for fish and other marine species, the world’s oceans are no longer safe haven for fish and other marine mammals. Reason? Indiscriminate human activities and big corporate interests that seemed to have outweighed the importance of environmental preservation in favor of financial gains.
It may sound a bit crazy to some, but this is reality, where even the oceans that are supposed to be the biggest source of food for man’s survival, is under serious threats. As this is being written, the onset of overfishing, not to mention the water pollution caused by the wanton dumping of hazardous chemicals and nuclear wastes into the seas, without let up.
The tendency seems to have spilled over to the oceans when big mining companies could no longer find a much better solution to contain their mine tailings, which are costly to maintain. And the much better and economical way to do it is to let it go into the main water tributaries and finally into the blue oceans now peppered with flotsam and debris.
The impacts of mercury poisoning in these oceans and water tributaries are staggering, which are now being felt mostly by the marginalized humans who have no other alternative but the fish stocks and other marine species fit for human consumptions. But when these natural resources are exposed to chemical poisoning, what can humans expect but endangering their survival and that of the coming generations.
Commonly used in mineral explorations, mercury leads are rampant where there are ongoing mineral explorations. Consequently, the immediate impact is water pollution brought about by the presence of chemical wastes in the oceans, where it eventually kills marine life. If there is anything that is considered wayward and insensitive manifestation of man’s uncaring attitude toward the environment, it is the dumping of mercury into the vast unprotected oceans.
Marine scientists have put the blame on those who are engaged in mining operations whose mine tailings are now the sensitive issues that are being debated in over and over again in some developing countries, where government officials are in cahoots with mining executives for a certain favor.
To the mining executives, dumping of mine tailings into the oceans could be the most convenient way of doing it fast and at a least cost. Obliviously, the marginalized fishermen living in coastal areas are the ones affected because they rely on the ocean as their source of food to survive. What they do in tantamount to ignorance of environmental laws established to protect mankind. And it is hard to imagine that until now, mining companies undermine the importance of having an environment that is safe and free of pollutants.
On the contrary, the bottom line always boils down to corporate profits. Worse is that the water pollution and contamination that emanate from the dumping of mercury happen at the very noses of concerned environmental regulators, who do nothing but to give in to the wishes of the corporate bigwigs in exchange for favors that are commonly known to a large number of people.
At this time, even the hands of the United Nations Environment Program are tied behind its back because it lacks the power to exercise what is necessary to protect the oceans from being abused further. If these dumping activities continue, fish tocks are expected to wane. There will come a time when poor fishermen worldwide will have nothing but mercury leads in their stomachs.