A drop in the ocean?

A drop in the ocean?

The Japanese Prime Minister has told the world that dumping radioactive contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea is “the most realistic option”. One million tonnes will be discharged over the next two years. Those who know about these things have said that the pollution resulting from this act will certainly affect the environment and may be a cause of sickness to humans as well as to creatures of the sea.

On the face of it this does seem totally irresponsible. If the act could be forbidden by law, I am sure Japan would find another way to deal with the waste water. They claim that they are unable to clean the water of tritium; dilution is therefore the obvious answer. On the basis of this, we are all entitled to foul the sea because the dilution of our little deposit will totally erase it for all practical purposes.

Do not be fooled by these pleas. The sea is big but it is now our most precious planet feature. What happens to it and to the inhabitants of it will significantly determine the future of the planet. One nuclear waste here and another one there soon add up to a totally polluted sea. Then shark attack will be replaced by survival attack.

If I drop litter on the street in Singapore I am punished with a fine. If I do it repeatedly, I go to prison. The streets in Singapore are clean. You do not have to wade through spent cigarette cartons, used condoms, plastic bags and dog poo. The contribution to the environment is infinitely greater than just clean streets. People develop a habit of cleanliness. We have a city remarkably free from pollution in spite of all our building development.

Discipline is what makes streets clean. That means that your offense may be tiny but if repeated many times it would become intrusive. What applies in the street, applies in the ocean. The convenience of Japan polluting the ocean is to be resisted at all costs. Not your ocean? Believe me, all the oceans are your oceans now.

‘This is one cigarette butt on the sidewalk of eternity.’

Just make sure it’s not yours. And also make sure nobody else is going to drop theirs.

A drop is no longer just ‘a drop in the ocean’.