Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sun,sea and chemical industries


How many of us think about the Sun and Sea, when you drink ‘Mineral water’ from that ‘PVC bottle’; or think about the PVC cables that transmit power to your home; or eat meal with a pinch of salt or bicarbonate; or when your municipal water treatment plant use Chlorine to disinfect your drinking water? All these come from sea water energized by sun’s light, day after day, for several decades. Every year 111 billion liters of seawater are evaporated using solar energy to produce 1.1 billion liters of brine. The amount of solar energy required to produce this, is equal to 11 million tons of coal, valued at US$ 1.10 billion. The brine is then crystallized to produce 2 million tones of solar salt, the essential raw material for 18 basic inorganic chemicals, including soda ash. Soda ash and Caustic soda are two fundamentals raw materials to chemical industries, as steel is to the engineering industries. This above statistics applies to one single manufacturer, and there are hundreds of manufacturers around the world. Sun and sea are two great gifts of Nature to mankind. But industries use three great resources namely Sun, seawater and a vast stretch of land often free of cost. Companies convert seawater into salt using sun’s energy, manufacture valuable chemicals, sell them with profits and then dump all toxic wastes on the soil and discharge all the industrial effluents back into the sea, polluting not only the source of their raw materials but also killing thousands of marine species they call ‘sea’ as their home. Governments and EPA (government agencies) turn a blind eye to such pollution and give them clearance year after after year in each country for several decades, because they depend on taxpayer’s money to run their Governments. The manufacturer utilize these natural resources free of cost or at a fraction of a cost and make huge profits to their shareholders and pay tax to the Government, to make sure that Governments don’t interfere with their activities. What is really happening is few rich and powerful are able to exploit the natural resources and enrich themselves with the help of Governments at the cost of earth, water and air, we human beings habitat. This avaricious exploitation of Nature has driven not only human beings but many animals and species to extinction. Basic needs of life such as water and air are polluted, man-made waste are dumped indiscriminately on soil, polluting the earth and ground water. The plastic manufactured using Nature’s sun and sea water, are dumped back on earth as non-biodegradable pollutants. This is how we repay Nature. Human beings have caused an irreversible damage to Nature in the name of science, technology and industrialization at the cost of future generation, while enriching few rich and powerful. The damage is irreversible, because we are forced to continue the same path in order to avert any disruption to our growth story. As long as we value materials over morals and ethics, there is no future and Nature will eventually turn its back with vengeance. We value how much a person is worth financially rather than, what a person can contribute to uplifting human beings and Nature. This is the crux of all problems in the world, including the financial crisis we are currently facing. We created the monster called ‘materialism’ and the same monster is now destroying humanity.