This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Minamata Mercury Pollution Disaster. Essay

845 words - 3 pages

Minamata Mercury Pollution DisasterMinamata and the Chisso Cooperation:Minamata is a small factory town dominated by the ChissoCorporation. The town faces the Shiranui Sea, and Minamata Bay ispart of this sea. In Japanese, "Chisso" means nitrogen. TheChisso Corporation was once a fertilizer and carbicle company, andgradually advanced to a petrochemical and plastic-maker company.From 1932 to 1968, Chisso Corporation, a company located inKumamoto Japan, dumped an estimated 27 tons of mercury compoundsinto Minamata Bay. Kumamoto is a small town about 570 milessouthwest of Tokyo. The town consists of mostly farmers andfisherman. When Chisso Corporation dumped this massive amount ofmercury into the bay, thousands of people whose normal dietincluded fish from the bay, unexpectedly developed symptoms ofmethyl mercury poisoning. The illness became known as the"Minamata Disease". The mercury poisoning resulted from years ofenvironmental destruction and neglect from Chisso Corporation.Chisso Corporation started developing plastics, drugs, and perfumesthrough the use of a chemical called acetaldehyde in 1932.Acetaldehyde is produced using mercury as a compound, and was keycomponent in the production of their products. Not until the mid-1950's did people begin to notice a "strangedisease".The "Minamata Disease":Victims were diagnosed as having a degeneration of theirnervous systems. Numbness occurred in their limbs and lips. Theirspeech became slurred, and their vision constricted. Some peoplehad serious brain damage, while others lapsed into unconsciousnessor suffered from involuntary movements. Furthermore, some victimswere thought to be crazy when they began to uncontrollably shout.People thought the cats were going insane when they witnessed"suicides" by the cats. Finally, birds were strangely droppingfrom the sky. Series of these unexplainable occurrences werebringing panic to Minamata.Mercury Concentrations:Fish & Shellfish Cats Humansoyster 5.6control 0.9-3.66controlless than 3.0gray mullet 10.6 kidney 12.2-36.1 kidney 3.1-144.0short-necked clam 20.0liver 37-145.5liver 0.3-70.5china fish 24.1brain 8-18brain 0.1-24.8crab 35.7hair 21-70hair 96-705Mercury Concentrations in Tissue Samples (ppm)*Minamata's food chains dramatically illustrate the `concentration of elements'--in this case, of mercury--in successive trophic levels. Assays of tissue from fish and shellfish from the bay, and from cats and humans who died from the poisoning, show high concentrations of mercury. Kidney and liver concentrations indicate how the bodies tried--unsuccessfully--to excrete and detoxify the heavy metal.Mercury:The Minamata case is such a vivid example because the town and the bay where the mercury was dumped may be seen as a relatively closed system. The ecological consequences, which are often diffuse and indirect, may be seen as a closed loop: the effects of the effluent led gradually but nevertheless inevitably back to...

Find Another Essay On Minamata Mercury Pollution Disaster.

Mercury: A toxic poison Essay

4066 words - 16 pages of victims ate more fish, researchers examined those taken from Minamata Bay more closely. The fish also seemed to show some symptoms, and they rose to the surface of the bay in large numbers. The Chisso Company was the major source of pollution and discharged its waste directly into Minamata Bay. Knowing their waste effluent induced the symptoms in cats, Chisso officials refused the researchers access to company property to conduct tests and

Endangered Planet Essay

1419 words - 6 pages , forests and fish stocks, living off capital only postpones and aggravates the shock that must come when the capital is exhausted. It is clear that our technology is out of control, each new development seems justified in isolation, but we seem incapable of standing back and looking at the impacts.The Minamata disaster was seen as a local problem but was in fact just following Western Europe. More industries and factories were being created and this

Criticizing and Resistence of Science Today

2673 words - 11 pages has been critiqued and resisted on the matter of pollution for many years and on several occasions. An example of water pollution, Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio in 1969, caught on fire because it was so polluted (Ellis, 1998). An example of soil pollution is centrally surrounded on the topic of chemical waste dumping. Mercury is a dangerous soil and water pollutant that can be found in medical waste, which is dumped on land and in water. It

Inorganic Compounds in Seafood

2495 words - 10 pages most famous examples is in the 1950's in the town of Minamata, Japan where during World War II a factory that made plastics dumped the excess mercury into the water of the fishing town at the time this was ignored by everyone but twenty years later almost every single person in the population began to become sick and the reason was unknown. It was later found that the seafood in the bay was toxic to all that ate it which was most of the people who

Water Problems of Michigan

1246 words - 5 pages Michigan has its fair share of environmental issues. Among the state’s biggest issue concerns water quality. Pollution is enormous within the Great Lakes, as can be seen in Lake Michigan and several rivers such as the Kalamazoo and Grand River. The contamination of water includes such things as sewage, dumping of toxic chemicals, garbage, and mercury emissions from power plants and factories. According to Brandon Howell of Mlive Michigan news

Mr. Toxic Free

2419 words - 10 pages Introduction Toxic substances and toxic wastes are a huge problem in the environment these days. Toxic substances are very harmful to the environment and can lead to many different problems. It can cause water pollution and contaminated water can harm the aquatic organisms . Toxic pesticides can run off the surface and enter the ocean and radioactive toxic wastes can contaminate soil. Toxic substances not only affect the environment but also

environmental superhero

1985 words - 8 pages the environment and can lead to many different problems including water pollution which can contaminate water and harm the aquatic life, runoff of toxic pesticides and contamination of soil by radioactive wastes and etc... • Toxic substances not only affect the environment but also affect human health by accumulating in the body as well as many other organisms • Mr. Toxic Free became an environmental superhero when his city had been seriously

pollution

3667 words - 15 pages natural disaster. For example, hurricanes often involve water contamination from sewage, andpetrochemical spills from ruptured boats or automobiles. Larger scale and environmental damage is not uncommon when coastal oil rigs orrefineries are involved. Some sources of pollution, such as nuclear power plants or oil tankers, can produce widespread and potentially hazardous releases when accidents occur.In the case of noise pollution the dominant

Affects Of Air Pollution

1096 words - 4 pages risk of skin cancer and cataracts in human individuals. Indoor air pollution seems to have more of a significant affect on health than outdoor air pollution; considering the fact that most people spend more of their time indoors than out (1). Many indoor pollutants include carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, radon gas, animal dander, mercury vapor, consumer products that release chemicals into the air, bacteria, mold and a huge indoor pollutant

Pollutants from the Necessities

2503 words - 10 pages people mainly for tragedies that have happened in the past. Some such tragedies include the arsenic scare in the USA, during which new protocols for the postal service were initiated, and the Chernobyl calamity, the Three Mile Island disaster, as well as the Fukushima nuclear accident where radiation killed or maimed many people. Some heavy metals such as mercury and uranium are considered nuclear through their radioactive properties (Viert

Land Destruction

1595 words - 6 pages Land Destruction What is land destruction? Land destruction involves many different things. It can be logging of trees and rain forest. Nuclear waste is one that is very serious that is harmful to the land. As well, pollution, air, water and land all do damage of some kind. Land destruction is something that doesn’t need to be taking lightly. There are many other items such as building and dams that cause damage to the land as well

Similar Essays

Minamata Bay Toxic Waste Essay

1105 words - 4 pages first started acetaldehyde production in 1932, producing 210 tons for the year. By 1951 they produced 6,000 tons, over 50% of Japans production. A side reaction of the catalytic cycle led to the production of a small amount of an organic mercury compound methyl mercury. This toxic compound was released into Minamata Bay from 1932 to 1968. In1956, the first symptoms of what would later become known as Minamata disease were exhibited by a five

Bioaccumulation And Biomagnification: Minamata Disease Essay

2043 words - 8 pages tissue samples of fish and shellfish, cats and humans are displayed in the table below (figure 5). How have human societies/how has the world responded to this issue (eg bans, restrictions, clean-ups)? On October 1, 1977, the Minamata Bay pollution prevention project was implemented to dispose of any sediment containing over 25ppm of mercury. This sludge was then moved from Minamata Bay to a reclaimed land area as shown in figure 6

Mercury In Fish Essay

1813 words - 7 pages /sites/MERCURYFREEMN/sub_page10.asp (8 October 2006)Pollution Probe. Mercury in The Environment: A Primer. Toronto: Pollution Probe, 2003.Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. "Mercury and Fish". Health Facts. 2006. http://www.simcoehealth.org/Facts/environment/mercury_and_fish.asp?NAV=ENVIRONMENT (7 October 2006)Smith, W. Eugene and Aileen M. Smith. Minamata. Canada: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975.The Canadian Encyclopaedia. "Uses". Mercury. 2006

The Minamata Bay Incident Essay

1291 words - 6 pages mercury were more profound in the older groups due to the decline number of brain cells. In conclusion, the article summarizes in findings stating that there is a relationship between the manifestations of psychiatric symptoms from the exposure of methylmercury prenatal or post natal Minamata disease patients. It was evident that the Minamata Bay incident was recorded to be the worst industrial pollution in history as the toxicity claimed many lives