Japan should not use the Pacific Ocean as a dumping ground

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The operator of the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has begun discharging the first batch of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. Last Thursday, August 24, 2023, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings turned on water pumps to begin releasing the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, marking the beginning of a controversial project that is expected to last for decades.

Keeping this in mind, China has banned the import of all types of seafood from its neighbor. On the other hand, Japan has repeatedly insisted that the wastewater has been thoroughly cleaned and will be harmless, a position supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

The IAEA said on Thursday that new on-site tests had confirmed that the levels of radioactive tritium in the water being discharged were safe. However, this is a serious matter which needs to be investigated impartially. The harm caused by this contaminated water will not only prove to be dangerous for the sea creatures but is also a matter of serious concern for the human race.

Not only is it being opposed around the world, but Japanese fishermen groups have opposed the plan for fear of further damage to the reputation of their seafood. More than 100 people also protested in front of TEPCO’s headquarters, out of which about 10 people were also detained. In Tokyo, 68-year-old Kenichi Sato said, “It’s like throwing an atomic bomb into the ocean.

Japan was the first country in the world to be attacked with the atomic bomb and the country’s prime minister took that decision.” Groups in China and South Korea have also expressed concern by making it a political and diplomatic issue and have asked to stop the contaminated water immediately. Three reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi facility in northeastern Japan melted down after a massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 18,000 people.

Since then, TEPCO has collected 1.34 million cubic meters of water that was contaminated by cooling the damaged reactors, as well as groundwater and rain. Japan says all radioactive elements have been filtered out except tritium, whose levels are harmless.

Whatever one may say, the time will tell its results better, but it is certain that Japan should not use the Pacific Ocean as a dustbin in which it is throwing its garbage. At present it is difficult to draw its conclusions, but for the coming generations we have to be a little comfortable and sensitive. We all have every right to know how safe the treated water is being released.

(Reporter-Devendra Singh)

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