"Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl"
Early this year, while the whole world was busy trying to eradicate a dreaded coronavirus, embarking on a vaccine rollout on a global scale, the Japanese government announced it was planning to discharge more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station into the ocean off its east coast.
While we commiserate with the Japanese people for the tragedy they went through with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster which was brought upon them by the March 2011 earthquake which struck their country, we just can’t understand why of all the countries, why does it have to be them?
Japan is no stranger to nuclear disaster being the first and only (hoping they would also be the last) victim of an atomic bomb attack. They should know very well the ill-effects of the radiation brought about by a nuclear fallout.
Also, they should have also learned from the lessons of the Chernobyl Nuclear Meltdown in 1986.
While the accident only registered an initial 30 casualties in the first few weeks after the incident, its effect could still be felt today, more than 30 years later.
In its website, the Nuclear Energy Institute says that in 2018, “the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation reported that the accident also was responsible for nearly 20,000 documented cases of thyroid cancer among individuals who were under 18 years of age at the time of the accident in the three affected countries including Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.”
This, according to the NEI, “was due to the high levels of radioactive iodine released from the Chernobyl reactor in the early days after the accident. Radioactive iodine was deposited in pastures eaten by cows who then concentrated it in their milk which was subsequently ingested by children. This was further exacerbated by a general iodine deficiency in the local diet causing more of the radioactive iodine to be accumulated in the thyroid.”
“Both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UNSCEAR report that health studies of cleanup workers fail to provide a direct correlation between radiation exposure and an increase of any other forms of cancer attributable to radiation exposures. However, the psychological effects of Chernobyl remain widespread and profound resulting in suicides, alcohol abuse and apathy,” the website says.
In a statement, Myleen Morales of the Progressive People for Peace, an NGO based in the Philippines, said they are strongly opposing Japan’s plan to dump nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant which was damaged during the March 2011 earthquake which struck the country.
Now, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster is bigger than that of Chernobyl, having been classified as Level 7 compared to Chernobyl’s Level 5. At the time of the incident, more than 154,000 people were evacuated from communities near the plant due to the continuous rise of off-site levels of ambient ionizing radiation due to airborne radioactive contamination coming from the damaged reactors.
With the potential threat the planned dumping of its nuclear wastewater into the ocean poses, a locally-based group, the Progressive People for Peace has joined the voices protesting the planned dumping, particularly those protesting from China and South Korea, in opposing Japan’s plan.
Last Saturday, the group conducted a mobile rally commencing from the Japanese Embassy and covered the stretch of Roxas Boulevard up to the US Embassy.
According to Morales, the group’s spokesperson, their rally, aside from airing their protest, is also intended to launch an educational/informational campaign aimed at informing and educating the public on the hazards of discharging nuclear wastewater into the ocean.
“From having contaminated the air around the plant and nearby communities, they will now be contaminating the waters as well,” Morales said.
“This will not only affect the livelihoods of the fisherfolks but also cause ecological imbalance as this will surely be killing hordes of marine life,” she added.
Haven’t they learned from the lessons from the past? From their own experience in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to the Chernobyl meltdown?
We have nothing against harnessing nuclear energy as power source but to dump its waste from our source of life – the water – that’s totally a different thing.
“We are asking the Japanese government not to push through with their plan to dump their nuclear waste into the ocean and look for other options as to where to dump them, but not, we reiterate, not into the ocean,” said Morales.
“We also ask our own government to join other nations in opposing Japan’s plan to contaminate the waters with their nuclear waste,” she added.
We hope our government makes known its stance on this matter. Also with the governments from all over the globe.
Yesterday marked the 20th China-Philippine Friendship Day and the 46th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines.
We can only hope for more years for a fruitful relationship founded on genuine friendship between the two countries. Cheers!