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Pollution Case Study
Transcript of Pollution Case Study
The Japanese Minamata Bay Disaster is an example of water pollution.
Water Pollution: The undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of a body of water. The Minamata Bay pollution involved the a chemical plant that manufactured plastic dumping 27 tons of toxic mercury waste in the bay, and resulted in the Minamata Disease. People who lived nearby had tremors, vision problems and brain damage, and would later be afflicted with long-term consequences such as death, insanity, and in future generations, birth defects and deformities, from either consuming the fish that were caught in the bay, or simply breathing in the toxic air. Where does this form of pollution occur? Is this a local or global issue? This form of pollution occured in Minamata Bay, off the coast of Japan, and contaminated the water in this area. Though it caused widespread disease among people and animals such as cats, who also ate the contaminated fish, it is a local issue,as it was largely contained within the bay. However, it is of global significance as it must be ensured that these actions are never repeated. With an estimated 35,000 people affected, it certainly was a crisis. 1908 2004 1959 1956 May: Discovery of Minamata Disease (cc) image by jantik on Flickr Chisso Corporations first opens a chemical factory in Minamata. Production of plastic using mercury begins, and waste products are dumped into nearby Minamata Bay. 1932 1958 Minamata Disease linked to organic mercury poisoning by British Neurologist. Upon further investigation, Minamata Bay is found to have high levels of mercury contamination, and the disease is discovered to be caused due to the consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish. Compensation is also given to fishing companies and to the Mutual Aid Society for Patients and Families of Minamata Disease. 1968 Japanese Government files conclusion as to the cause of Minamata disease, which is made public. 1973 Chisso Corporations found guilty of negligence. Patients of second outbreak win compensation. 1977 Net installed around Minamata Bay
to stop other areas being contaminated. 1997 Net is removed, fish deemed safe to consume once again. Ruling by the Supreme Court of Japan that the national government was indeed responsible for not acting, and therefore not preventing the spread of Minamata Disease. While the Minamata Bay mercury pollution is over, after the waters have been deemed uncontaminated and the fish safe to eat,the effects of this disaster are still being felt. Minamata Disease could result in death, but it could also be passed on through generation by birth defects and deformities, and no matter how much compensation is paid, these effects will still be felt for years to come. Who is responsible for the creation of this pollution? Chisso Corporations, which was originally called Nichitsu, is responsible for the dumping of toxic chemical waste in Minamata Bay, which brought on the severe disease. Also held accountable is the Japanese government, which, though presented with the needed information regarding the issue, did not take steps to prevent the spread of the disease. However, the consequences that the waste-dumping could have were unforeseen by everybody. How is this type of pollution created? Water pollution through heavy metals, such as mercury, occurs when a large amount of this toxic chemical is put into a body of water, as in Chisso Corporations in Minamata Bay, Japan. After this is done, the results could be catastrophic, as they were, as even prolonged exposure could damage the health of civilians. Science was involved in fixing these problems by creating cures and making the bay lose that great concentration of mercury. Science was involved in creating the cure for the people because science is the one that has the materials needed for obtaining a cure, and it has to find the point to the which a person can be cured. How is science involved in developing solutions to this pollution? It also helped fix the high mercury concentration in the bay because science is needed to find the concentration of mercury in water. And thanks to science we know what the toxic material in the water is made of so we can extract it and help restore the bay. Science was needed to first identify the problem that there was a genuine disease occurring among the population, and then to develop solutions that could help. Science is limited since the removal of the strong methyl mercury is very hard and in the process other things may result harmed as fishes and others. But the worst of the problems to fix the water contamination isn’t this. First of all permission needs to be obtained from the state to start the solution and even worse a budget is needed so the tools can created or acquired. Another problem is that to make the medicine available for the people the medicine has to be tested and legalized to be sold or used in hospitals. The other problem is that a medicine for all type of cases has to be created since people that have a very high level of methyl mercury cannot be cured. How is science limited in solving this pollution problem? What materials, procedures, legislation, activity, attitudes, or incentives need to be developed to reduce the pollution or its impact? What benefits are there from the process that creates this type of pollution? - people who drink polluted water need medical attention therefore doctors earn more money and jobs are created
- it makes good articles
- gives scientist something new to investigate
- gives people various job options, as there are people needed to oversee the dumping of waste products, and people are hired to work within the factory as well
- makes it easier for large companies to dispose of their waste products quickly and easily, without wasting money
- saves money for factory owners
- provides more job opportunities
Mercury pollution affected japan's society in many ways. First of all, the Minimata disease was brought on by this pollution in the 1950s causing many to die or fall victim to serious illnesses. Many have and are suffering brain damage, deformities, blindness, paralysis and health problems. Pregnant woman that ate this contaminated fish then had to deal with their babies being born with cerebral palsy. When it all started, people didnt realize it was all being caused because they had essentially been poisoned, though of course the mercry dumping was never expected to have such a result.. They had no idea that the fish they were eating for dinner was the reason they would die or have serious health problems in a near future. oose ONE interaction from the following list and explain it in detail. How does this environmental pollution problem interact with society? Choose ONE interaction from the following list and explain it in detail. How does this environmental pollution problem interact with society? This form of environmental pollution, that is, the contamination of Minamata Bay by mercury, interacts with society in many ways. The Japanese society involves a heavily seafood-influenced cuisine, and a city such as Minamata would prosper under these circumstances. The Minamata contamination and subsequent disease brought on a wariness in people of eating fish from around these areas, which would not only cause economical disturbances, but also result in a loss of identity. Where before they had welcomed factories and large companies that could expand on their economic growth, society would now shun these, fearing the same repercussions from the 1950s. Society in Japan was, and still is, greatly affected by the Minamata Bay Mercury pollution. Works Cited
“The Minamata Bay Incident.” ProQuest. ProQuest CSA, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/mercury/review5.php>.
“Minamata Disaster.” TED Case Study. AU, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www1.american.edu/ted/MINAMATA.HTM>.
“The POisoning of Minamata.” The Poisoning of Minamata. SHIP Teacher’s Network, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www1.umn.edu/ships/ethics/minamata.htm>.
Pollack, Andrew. “Japan Calls Mercury-Poisoned Bay Safe Now.” New York Times [New York City] 30 July 1997: n. pag. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/1997/07/30/world/japan-calls-mercury-poisoned-bay-safe-now.html>.
Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7734058>.
“Worst Man-made Environmental Disasters.” Worst Man-made Environmental Disasters. Filters Fast, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.filtersfast.com/articles/Worst-Man-Made-Environmental-Disasters.php#mozTocId483589>.