December 7, 2005
Whose Responsibility is Clean Water?
â€śChemical spill in China poses potential threat to rare species living downriverâ€? â€“ 12/6 article in the Star Tribune
Who owns water? Who is responsible for cleaning up chemical spills in water? What happens if the polluted water is carried to another country? All these questions are coming into play after a chemical spill in China.
After an explosion at a chemical factory in China, a toxic benzene slick is headed down the Amur River towards Russia, says a 12/6 article in the Star Tribune (Associated Press). According to the Associated Press article, a river basin in the path of the spill is home to many animals: leopards, bears, musk deer, and numerous species of fish, as well as the species experts are most worried about: the Siberian tiger, one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Many of these rare cats live in the Wild Animals Rehabilitation Center located at the Sikhote-Alin Nature Monument in far eastern Russia. Though the tigers probably wonâ€™t be directly affected by the spill unless they drink from the river, they will probably be indirectly affected if they consume birds that have eaten fish from the Amur River, which is likely (Associated Press).
Many important and controversial issues play a role in this incident. Because the spill will not stay in one place in China and affect the people there, the Chinese are probably not as concerned about it as they would be had the spill stayed. The Russians did not cause the spill, but are now left with cleaning it up if China refuses to do so. Whose job is it to clean up a spill which happened in one country but traveled to another?
In my opinion, the spill should ideally be cleaned up by the Chinese. After all, it was caused by a factory located in China, and though it will probably not affect the Chinese people in a large way, it is therefore their responsibility. This sort of issue is incredibly controversial, and it is very easy to simply pin the blame and then not do anything. If we want a clean planet for future generations, I think that we need to establish more solid international laws and treaties surrounding environmental issues. If we develop an â€śeveryone for their selvesâ€? type of policy, we wonâ€™t get very far when faced with dire environmental issues.
Posted by at December 7, 2005 11:57 AM | 2. In the News