Essay on The Minamata Bay incident

Essay on The Minamata Bay incident

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The Minamata Bay incident also known as the Minamata disease was the largest and most tragic case of industrial pollution to be recorded in history. In the late 1950’s, the consequences of dumping methylmercury into the ocean from the formation of acetaldehyde was not taken into account by the Japanese authorities of the Chisso Corporation chemical factory at that time. As a result, the methylmercury infected water was taken up by the marine life and caused major food poisoning when consumed by the Japanese people ranging from serious neurological diseases (Yorifuji et al., 2008), speech impairment and in some cases, death. The severity of the disease took its toll of up to thousands of innocent civilians and as a form of compensation, the officials responsible for the outbreak offered payments to the grief stricken families who were victims of the horrendous disease. The epidemic came into motion again in 1965, this time in the Agano River basin in Niigata causing the same symptoms as the previous outbreak but this time, the numbers of civilians affected were reduced greatly. It was recently reported in March 2001 that the official death toll of the disease was 1,785 with Chisso Corporation compensated $86 million for the families who were affected by the disease. In May 2006, a memorial service was held to mark 50 years of the discovery and the past left behind of the Minamata disease.
The aftermath of the Minamata disease had taken its toll on the Japanese people claiming many lives and rendering some of its victims permanently disabled. This is highlighted in the article titled “Minamata Disease” written by K. Murata and M. Sakamoto, published in the “Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2013”. The...


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...along Minamata Bay where all sorts of horrifying cases were exhibited such as neurological diseases, comas and in some cases, death.
Based on the cases discussed above from various authors, it is evident that the most tragic industrial pollution that is, Minamata Bay bears a dark story in history claiming many innocent lives where the methylmercury manifested in various forms, making it an environmental tragedy. Due to the ignorance and negligence of the officials responsible for the dumping of methyl mecury, symptoms such as impaired vision, loss of motor skill and mental retardation was exhibited to people that had very low illness history. The prevalence of this epidemic could have been haltered by the Japanese officials but failure to detect the poisoning at an early stage allowed the disease to manifests itself unto both the Japanese people and the ecosystem.

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