“One Health” and effect of Uranium mining
Takafumi Tomita , JCN-UNDB / NUCLEAR GROUP
In the morning of April 26,1986 a Soviet nuclear plant at Chernobyl near Kiev, exploded, pouring radioactivity into the environment, setting off the worst disaster in the history of nuclear energy.
More than 130,000 people had to be evacuated from the central contaminated zone and permanantly resettled. A million live under radiological watch in high radioactivity zones, and over 600,000, including 250,000 children are hospitalized. Chernobyl was the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the earth and uranium mining.
And,the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is one of only two INES1 Level 7 events in world history.
Radioactive substances have spread to not only within Fukushima but also to the whole eastern part Japan through wind, and it has brought a serious damage to the primary industries as well as to biodiversity. Highly radioactive water from storage tanks keep leaking, and polluted groundwater is pushed from the mountain side into the ocean. There is a massive amount of radioactive substances and radioactive rubbles floating in the Pacific Ocean and there is a concern they will drift to reach the Pacific islands.
We have to clearly recognize that all nuclear power plants in operation have the same kind of risk for accidents and could cause irreversible environmental pollutions across borders.
At CBD/COP, it is necessary to recognize that such kind of economic activities are a great threat for biodiversity.
Connected to this, the uranium industry, specially uranium minding, is more active in the land of Indigenous people than any other place in the world and is destroying their lifestyles. Wollaston Lake in India is one of the small communities struggling to survive. In 1985, the west side of Wollaston Lake, all traffic in and out of Rabbit Lake and Collins Bay uranium mines was blocked for 80 hours. The blockade marked the first act of civil disobediance against the uranium industry in Saskatchewan.
Corbin Harney is an elder and spiritual leader of the Western Shoshone, a native people indigenous to Idaho, Nevada, Utah and California and is leading his people to protest the US governments nuclear testing and uranium minding: “As I see it all around me, the trees are dying out, our water is contaminated, and our air is not good to breath, we have to come back to the Native Way of Life, the Native Way is to pray for everything, our Mother Earth is very important, we can’t just misuse her and think she is going to contiune. We’ve been told to take care of what we’ve got so that we can leave something for the younger generation, we the people are going to have to put our minds together to save our planet here. We only have one water, one air, one Mother Earth.”
Everything we live on, such as air, water, soil and food come from the ecosystem and diverse living things. We should recognize that our health are hurt by hurting the health of the earth by mining uranium.