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Mercury poisoning cannot silence a nation

Earlier this month, 140 nations united in order to adopt an innovative international treaty gaged at combating overly harmful mercury emissions. Mercury, a commonly used element and consumed through fish, possesses a great risk to humanity; thereby, invoking severe health issues. As a result, years of negotiation have led to the aim of transitioning former industrial processes to those which do not release mercury into the environment.

While the majority of these nations have willing entered this pact in the name of humanitarianism; one country, who has sustained a reputation for allowing Mercury to run rampant through their borders, may just uphold an underlying motive.

Japan contributed $1 million towards the cause and the treaty will be signed in Minamata later this year. Yet, this is the same government responsible for allowing whale and dolphin meat, foods containing extremely high amounts of mercury content, to flourish through their people’s markets.

For decades, governments and activists have strove to deter the consumption of whale and dolphin meat for the sanctity of the animal and humanity. Yet, the sole whaling commission, the International Whaling Commission, is head by the Japanese. And as a result, dolphin meat is falsely advertised as whale meat, and eating whale meat is encouraged.

The Japanese government has gone to extensive lengths to protect whaling at the expense of their population’s health quality. Such tactics include embezzling whale meat into the nation and planting the meat into educational lunch programs.

When disputing the ethical nature of the subject, the government claims the act of whaling is a part of Japanese national heritage; when caught encroaching on the global regulations placed on whaling the issue becomes a matter of conducting scientific research.

Despite however the Japanese government chooses to shroud whaling, recent response by the citizens to mercury in the environment may just be the reason why the bureaucrats have been eager to purport the illusion of concern regarding the cause and effect of mercury poisoning.

The people of Japan are simply tired of enduring the torment brought on by the excessive misuse of the element. Currently, 12,000 people have demanded compensation from their government. Even Japanese activists are protesting against their governments’ affairs, claiming that the Minamata treaty lacks obligation and that wasting taxpayer money on subsidies for killing whales is an international embarrassment.

But maybe by entering into this treaty the Japanese government is making another pact, a negotiation with its people for better health. In a few years we might just experience a decline not only in mercury emissions but in the whaling industry if not complete ends to the primitive practice as well.


This Web Exclusive is brought to you by Opinions Editor Stephen Cavallaro.



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One comment

  1. If there are any whales and dolphins left by then.

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