Hazardous Waste Is a Danger to Water and Well-Being

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There are still companies illegally washing hazardous waste into water systems all over the world. It’s difficult to argue that there’s nothing morally wrong with this kind of dumping when the physical and environmental side effects of hazardous waste are obvious. For example, the criminals who dump reduced-duty diesel in rivers in Ireland, can’t deny that when the sludge touches a person or animal, it creates serious chemical burns. That’s one of the reasons this substance is classified as hazardous waste.

Despite posing a serious health risk, most of the people involved in these illegal operations believe that if they filter the fuel through cat litter or “burn off” the dye by adding sulphuric acid to the mix, it will be safe.

When the waste hits the water supply it doesn’t just harm any humans who come into contact with it, it also kills off everything in the river, from the largest fish to the smallest microscopic creatures. The substances that are most commonly dumped into the water supply contain polycyclic hydrocarbons, where are directly linked to diseases like cancer. In the instance that a pregnant woman comes into contact with this chemical, the child can have a range of serious malformations.

Why does so much waste get dumped in nature? Largely because if it was disposed of properly, how it was produced and why it was produced in the first place would be called into question. Some of the most dangerous and common chemicals being dumped around Ireland, for example, are the result of illegal fuel laundering setups. Most of the time, these spills are “accidental,” meaning that when chemicals reach the water supply it because of a mistake at one of the manufacturing places or because the people doing this illegal activity do not have the right storage, transportation, or cleaning facilities for the fuel.

If there is a serious problem in transport, for example, most of these undertrained and usually unlicensed drivers will abandon the leaking truck, instead of trying to mitigate the damage the fuel and its waste creates. Even if the spill occurs far from water, the dangerous chemicals can leech into the ground water and find their way to major rivers and streams.

This problem does not just affect the fish in our rivers, it affects every person who relies of water from these streams and rivers, as traces of these chemicals can remain in the water even after purification and in the environment, even decades after the original spill.

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