Hazards of Toxic waste

The macabre aftermath of the tragedy of Bhopal in India may not capture headlines today, but gruesome memories of it remain and nightmares continue to haunt the victims. Bhopal is a classic example of massive leakage of Methyl Isocyanate, but indiscriminate disposal of toxic wastes over a long period of time is bound to affect life. Bhopal illustrates the view that, however foolproof an installation or factory is against leakage and pollution, error is possible. Admittedly, man in his bid for industrialization and technological progress creates pollution and the threat of toxic-gas wastes. Toxicity is the price we pay for progress. Man's ingenuity and resourcefulness have helped him adopt measures to contain the problem created by toxic wastes, but pollution continues to be a universal problem. A test carried out in Bayertown in the U.S.A., some five miles away from the Limerick nuclear-power plant, provided the stunning news that the environment was radon-tainted. Radon is produced by the radioactive breakdown of uranium. It can flow for miles underground and it has long been recognized as a health hazard. The gas disperses quickly outdoors, but indoors it can reach a deadly level of concentration. It is reported that there are other toxic air pollutants that pose a threat in the average home where they are produced by common household products and building materials. The discovery at Bayertown emphasizes the practical problems of disposing of toxic wastes. The ever-present danger of gaseous discharge from factories is underscored by a mishap in Basel, Switzerland. A huge cloud of fetid gas and smoke is said to have spread to neighboring France and West Germany. Exposure to toxic wastes can affect our health. Toxic wastes can affect man through marine organisms and fish.

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