Turn on your television and flip to the local news channel. Amidst the stories detailing robberies, vandalism, violent crimes, and the weather reports, it’s not uncommon to find a story circulating that touches on pollution, illegal dumping, or the contamination of our lakes and oceans.
We might shake our heads at the idea of our planet being abused in such horrific ways, but do the bulk of those watching ever really understand the scale as to just what kind of destruction is being done. Do we really understand the magnitude of the kind of irreversible damage some are doing to our planet on a daily basis? The short answer: no.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a nuclear meltdown that forced over 160,000 people to flee their homes, and while the kind of damage that was done on land is nothing to rinse your hands of, doing so with water may not be the safest and healthiest option. The disaster has recently been found to have now contaminated the water of over one-third of the world’s oceans, a destructive path that appears to show no clear signs of slowing down anytime soon.
That’s one-third of the water on our planet now contaminated because of one, albeit rather an enormous misstep. The scale is devastating.
It’s estimated that over 80% of the radioactivity caused by the meltdown of the nuclear reactors ended up reaching the Pacific Ocean. The kind of destruction at play is far more treacherous than that of such other incidents such as Chernobyl, a catastrophic disaster in its own right.
Of that 80%, a small portion is believed to have reached the ocean’s floor, while the rest was snatched up by the Western Pacific’s rendition of the Gulf Stream, more commonly known as the Kuroshio current. The kind of damage done does not pigeonhole itself to one area for long. It spreads and will continue to do so.
The question is, exactly what substances are contaminating our water, and what should we be having our water tested for? The answer is cesium, particularly two isotopes. True, these materials are only littering the Eastern Pacific ocean in small trace amounts for the time being, but the thought of having any radioactive materials whatsoever in our water is a frightening reality to have to absorb.
Where does the damage end, and is it possible to rebound from such a horror? The latter remains up for debate as the government works diligently to rectify the situation, but as far as where the damage ends: your guess is as good as ours. Nearly 300 tonnes of clean water are cycled through the destroyed ruined nuclear reactors at the Fukushima site in an effort to cool their core temperatures. It’s a stall tactic, to say the least.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has a different outlook on the matter. They’ve recently made a pitch to all who would listen to attempt to convince skeptics that the dumping of 800,000 tonnes of contaminated water is something to turn a blind eye to. The words “safe” and “responsible” were focal points of their argument, a laughable presentation to say the least.
Any further dumping puts human beings and the future of our planet as we know it at extreme risk. The destruction must end now.