Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Needless Paranoia

It was reported today workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant dumped 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water into the ocean in order to make space for even more toxic water.

During a radio interview, a nuclear expert explained that what the workers were doing was the lesser of two evils, and that the ocean was the best place to put it as it would dilute the water, though there would be safety concerns for those living closest to the plant.

The key word here is relative, and understanding that while radiation levels are reported as being high outside of the vicinity of quake-hit area, they are still way below the maximum levels for humans. The expert also explained the radiation leaking from Fukushima is only about 10 percent of the amount from Chernobyl and though projections have already been made over how many people will probably get cancer, they are still much lower than the numbers for the Russian nuclear power plant.

The other day a friend back home told me she and her relatives were planning to travel to Asia this summer, but were hesitant at first because of the radiation from Japan.

They hoped that by July things would have cleared up.

"They've stopped the leak now," she asked.

I had to explain that the situation still was hardly under control and it would take months if not years for it to be completely over with.

Then she expressed concerns of the radiation as some was detected in Beijing which is why some of her relatives didn't want to go to China. I replied that traces of radiation had been found on the shores of Vancouver, so everyone around the world was getting some of it.

"But geographically we're further away so it's not as bad," she said.

And then today I got an email from a friend in the United States who told me a mutual friend of ours was "very very worried" about me with the radiation situation, even though he lives in Singapore.

Do these people know something that I don't?

I tried to reason that if people in Hong Kong thought things were really bad, the entire city would have been a ghost town by now. A few weeks ago they were madly rushing to buy salt, so imagine if they found out the radiation levels were serious in Hong Kong?

It's interesting to see the levels of paranoia, particularly the further they are from the epicentre.

But more importantly, I hope people realize that what happens in one place will affect the rest of the world -- that they will finally wake up and see that yes climate change is a global issue and yes we are seeing traces of radiation from Japan arriving on shores of various countries.

We only have one planet, folks. If we screw it up, that's it. Game over.

It's time to realize our dependence on energy has to be curbed now. We will never be able to live without it, but we can use it much more efficiently and less frivolously.

And now is the best time to start.

1 comment:

  1. in the wake of unknowns in natural disasters i think it is easy to spread rumors , half truths, gossips. it is up the receiver to scrutinize its validity.