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Pollution- Genocide by any other name

Updated on March 25, 2012

With all the learned hot air blowing about health issues, it’s interesting to note that the world’s biggest issue, pollution, is a non-issue around the world. 50 years after Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the sacred pollution lobby has shut down all debate.

The medical zealots, who are absolutely un-shut-uppable on practically every noun in every language, fall silent. The academics are too busy lecturing people to open their mouths and say anything useful. The “thought leaders” (if those are leaders, what are followers?) have nothing to say on the subject.

Virtually every country on Earth is now suffocating and being poisoned. In Asia, there’s a great big smog bank called the Brown Haze which is thoughtfully considered to kill about half a million people a year. China regularly disappears under a murderous cocktail of practically the entire Table of Elements. The Baltic, Eastern Europe and Russia were so heavily polluted during the Soviet era that there were worse places than Chernobyl to work, according to Russian security people.

Even the idea of democratic representation of the basic right not to be killed has disappeared in the smog. The energy industry, which is remarkably un-energetic in terms of actually doing anything, talks about adding costs to everything the minute any anti-pollution measure is proposed. The concept of being responsible for their own mess doesn’t even exist outside legislation.

There’s some sort of ideological position that allows mass murder by pollution without any form of accountability. Inefficiency is rewarded on a daily basis by political hacks who seem to believe that getting funding from industry is far more important than actually doing their jobs. This is true perversion of public representation on a colossal scale, and it’s so common that it’s not even a subject for news media any more.

The EPA prosecutes repeat offenders on a regular basis all over the US. These guys don’t/won’t get the message, and keep right on polluting. The “right to pollute” is apparently considered sacred by someone.

The fact is that there’s no “right to pollute”. Never has been. If you started pouring toxic chemical cocktails onto your neighbor’s property, you’d be prosecuted for it. If global energy companies poison the air round the clock with their inefficient, obsolete technologies, that’s apparently fine with someone.

The really sick thing about this is that the level of ignorance regarding the risks apparently extends into the oil and coal industries. If you work in these industries, you’re playing with fire as far as your health’s concerned. Oil fumes can destroy people’s lungs. They actually destroy tissue, and carbon micro particulates were recently shown by Australia’s CSIRO to be actually able to get into lung tissue directly. They’re so small they can be inhaled and burrow their way into vital organs. The effect of global pollution is like a scattergun, spraying micro bullets into the human race.

Is there a problem? Well, yes. Billions of tons of these chemicals are produced, daily. The basal argument of the polluters is that chemical pollution “blows away”. As a matter of fact, active chemicals don’t do anything of the sort. They can’t, to start with. Their makeup is highly reactive. They react with sunlight, oxygen and anything else that they encounter. They combine with other chemicals, and generally go on the rampage. They combine when they hit an appropriate chemical reactant.

The other argument is to say “There’s no proof” whenever confronted with accusations of the effects of pollution. This is also the basic defence of most criminals when charged, and the result is usually a pointless debate bordering on infantile level, like “Did!”, “Didn’t!”.

As a matter of fact, the proof is easy enough to find, and well documented. If someone drinks so much as a teaspoon full of gasoline, they’ll get very sick. Carbon monoxide, one of the standard products of burning oil, paper or wood, is also not exactly unknown as a toxic substance. Those are just the basics. There’s a list the size of a New York Yellow Pages of carbon based toxins. Carbon chemistry is the stuff most industrial chemists train on, and there’s no lack of studies.

Ironically, there’s another payoff to this highly selective form of non-logic, and if nothing else worries the polluters, this might: Incidence of multiple forms of serious disease in the oil and coal industries is routinely extremely high, and always has been. Even in the Industrial Revolution, where kids and pit ponies were dying off like flies with rotting lungs, this was well known. The people who’ve made the world a passive smoking zone for the last 50 years are still literally dying of their own products. Exposure to the vast chemical zoo of compounds is that dangerous.

The price of a double standard is usually a double whammy, getting hit by both standards. The “right to pollute” has become the “right to die”. I’ve always thought reality was a bit tactless, but I guess if you ignore it, it’ll get offended and hit back.

To those of us who consider pollution a form of genocide, citing costs and producing dollar-based apologias is a bit redundant. Maybe the industry will wake up, but if the question is “Your money or your life”, I think we know what the answer will be.

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    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Joe, we're starting to do fracking and we're already hitting problems, notably contaminants. Carbon is a wasted commodity when used as fuel in antique technology, anyway. I'll check out GasLand.

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      "The really sick thing about this is that the level of ignorance regarding the risks apparently extends into the oil and coal industries. If you work in these industries, you’re playing with fire as far as your health’s concerned. Oil fumes can destroy people’s lungs."

      I really found this to be a key point in your article. I can't speak for Australia, but the US is pushing even harder to extract natural gas/oil from shale beds located throughout the country. The method used to extract the natural gas is called Fracking, and its not only bad for workers, but also the residents that live around these drill sites. Water contamination is the big issue, with some water becoming so contaminated that it will ignite if you hold a lighter to the sink faucet. Besides the water pollution, condensate tanks allow for poisonous gases to vent off into the environment. Here not too far back, I read an article on how some parts of the state of Wyoming had air quality worse than Los Angeles, California. That's a mountain state with less than 500,000 people having worse air quality than a city with 10 million. If you can get a hold of it, there's a good documentary called GasLand that addresses these techniques if you'd like a little more info on it. Its sad to see all the damage that comes as a by-product from these industries.

      I look forward to reading more from you. Thanks for the article.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      "...let them drink it..." Getting hopeful there, hello hello?

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Wow, that was interesting and an eye opener. They got all the technologie for electric cars but no the big shots would loose too much money. Also they rather fight wars about oil instead of getting away from it and let them drink it. Thanks, Paul, great hub.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you, Kayci. I'm hoping that keeping the pollution issue front and center will drive the environmental debate back to practical issues instead of creating excuses for denial.

    • Ikayci profile image

      Ikayci 

      7 years ago from Santa Fe, NM

      I thought your piece on Pollution was very interesting. It would be great if more people took notice of the things happening before their face. I was thinking about this same issue today.

      Thanks,

      Kayci

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