October 20, 2005
Australia = nuclear waste dump of the world?!?
As I was reading through the chapters in our environmental science book, I began to question my number one factor concerning the world: pollution. I wondered; where does the pollution go? Although we learned in grade school that pollution is buried deep in a landmine, we never learn WHERE exactly these craters of pollution exist or if it is possible for humans to directly come in contact with the destructive mass of pollution. Searching for the answers to these questions, I found an article in the news (http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051003/full/437799b.html) closely related to my questions. According to the article, Robert Hawke, the former prime minister of Australia, believes Australia should become an "international repository for nuclear waste." Due to the high supply of uranium, Hawke believes Australia must aid in disposing the waste.
Those in agreement with Hawke argue that shipping waste to Australia would boost the economy in that overseas nuclear-power users would be forced to pay in order to ship waste to the "sparsely populated" areas of Western Australia. "It would be an enormous source of income that we could use to address our own environmental problems" states Hawke. Activists propose that the topography of Australia makes it a perfect area for waste disposal. However, the dumping of wastes in Australia is highly unlikely due to the lack of political support because the federal government is already in disagreement about where to place the small nuclear waste of their nation, much less the waste of the entire developing world.
Although it seems necessary to remove nuclear waste from populated, urban areas of the world, I do not think placing the entire world's nuclear waste in one continent will fix the problem. In addition to the danger of transporting the nuclear waste overseas, we must also worry about the livelihood of the citizens of Australia. Although the disposing of waste in Australia may "boost the economy," it seems that it would highly decrease the quality of life. We must also think about the habitat in which the government would be destroying in order to store the nuclear waste. Forests, grasslands and wetlands would all be sacrificed in order to discard the pollution of the modern world. I was both shocked and appalled by this article. Why should we sacrifice our natural habitats in order to get rid of nuclear waste? What is the environment really worth to us?!? With these questions in mind, I sincerely hope the government decides NOT to dispose of waste in Australia in order to save the natural habitat living there.
Posted by at October 20, 2005 2:55 AM | 4. Land Use and Land Management