Radioactive water

At the time when we talk about climate change and try to implement polices that could prevent the further deterioration of life on Earth, it is controversial to ignore the actions that are sure to cause great problems for future generations.

The modern world is constantly witnessing the extent to which man's thoughtless actions unbalance both the environment and human health, and yet it seems that they have not yet learned the lesson. Humans contribute to the extinction of species, reduce their diversity, destroy soil fertility through growing monocultures, unbalance atmospheric gases through deforestation, help viruses switch from primary hosts to humans, pollute the oceans with plastic and other waste. And now, in addition to the pandemic that has not yet been wiped out, a new disaster is looming.

Global health is being put on risk again with the Japanese government's decision to pour radioactive water (from Fukushima) into the oceans. Even though the wastewater is pre-filtered to reduce level of radioactive isotopes, the filtration will never be complete, and some radioactive elements will inevitably enter the food cycle. The concentration of radioactive elements is claimed to be low, however it is known that this primary concentration will accumulate through the food chain once it becomes part of the environment.

Generations of geneticists have been educated by examples of the catastrophic effects of toxic substances on the health of all life forms, including humans, and they know that when it comes to radioactive substances, the effect can be immeasurable. For example, tritium, which is part of the wastewater planed to be released, and cannot be filtered, has an estimated decay time of 4’500 ± 8 days (12.32 ± 0.02 years) (source: National Institute of Standards and Technology). This means that the time in which this element (among other substances) will accumulate in the food cycle is long enough to affect genetics, cause mutations, health issues and deformations, and this, silently over the decades.

The extent to which the damage will be done is difficult to assess, but the path of substances through the food-chain into the human body can be compared to the less potent (albeit very harmful) DDT used in past. In fact, DDT was seen as an outstanding success in preventing malaria and typhoid fever in the late 1930s, and its application as an insecticide even earned Paul Hermann Muller the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1948. The extent to which the effect of DDT impaired human health and ecology did not came into focus until the 1960s, almoust two decades later and it took another decade of struggles to finally ban its use in agricalture and mosquito management. When it comes to radioactive isotopes, given their long declay time , it can be assumed that people will only face the consequences after 20, 30 years (or even later).

The act of discharging 1.5 million tons of radioactive water into the ecosystem is not only a path of no return, but also encourages other countries that have old nuclear power plants, to dispose their radioactive waste in the same way. All of that, makes this act of global concern, why also the protest against the use of such practices when dealing with radioactive substances must be global. In fact, only if the world community works consciously and jointly on this and similar future problems can also solutions be developed that neither endanger the environment nor human health.

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