Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 328: Big Bucks Feeds Us Toxic Waste

The above link will take you to an interesting article written by a South African magazine called Noseweek. Noseweek is all about "the news you're not supposed to know", the articles are presented well with lots of research and investigation to back them up. Unfortunately, this particular article must be paid for to be read so I will give the basics of the situation:

Sasol is a major synthetic-fuels producer in South Africa - they produce 38% of SA's fuel and account for 4.4% of GDP. They employ 30,000 people. Basically, they're the cat's pajama's around here and the government is wary of messing with the production of such a large portion of the country's fuel over a matter so small as environmental pollution or the contamination of our food supply. Sasol, after some nepotism, collusion and all that jazz, wants to use the waste sludge that is a by-product of the production process of the fuels  as "organic compost". Yeah, that sounds pretty not good for anybody. They claim to have tested the sludge and found it to be safe, the government approves and all seems fine - unfortunately they didn't test the sludge for all of the common elements commonly contained within this by-product, including Arsenic, Vanadium, Thallium, Cadmium, Uranium, Barium, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium and Flouride. The sample was also supplied by Sasol and was not collected by the testing lab, so there is no way to confirm whether the samples tested even came from the sludge in question. Now Sasol's one operation in Secunda produces 27 tonnes of bio-sludge an hour - that's 19,440 tonnes a month. As well as this sludge pie, Sasol has not complied with other pollution guidelines which the government has chosen to blatantly ignore.

Apparently, according to a secret recording at a secret Sasol meeting, this sludge-based compost has been tested before. A herd of animals was fed hay grown on the compost andd then all dies from Flouride poisoning. The person who brought this up in the meeting then denied and no-commented the reporters who called to confirm the story, afterwards even going on to warn Sasol that Noseweek reporters were poking around.

Stories such as these make me quake in my gumboots. If our large corporations who have so much influence will not respect the limits of nature and our physical bodies, then how will any of us make it to old age, or even just get through most of life without developing some crippling disease? The toxins we pump into the environment don't magically disappear - they return to us in one form or another. Our world functions interdependently - one thing affects the other, which affects the other and so on and so forth. If we are not willing to treat our home with respect and consideration just because we want to be rich and comfortable, then we will simply all come to a premature, and probably painful, end.

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