Monday, April 18, 2011

Lynas - History repeating itself?

I never knew that Bukit Merah had a rare earth processing plant.
Not until we had a discussion during Life Group at Crossroads and after reading about it on the papers soon after. But all this, from the aftermath of the nuclear crisis that Japan is facing.

Many questions where raised, i.e., why weren't we aware of the Mitsubishi plant in Bukit Merah until now? Or rather how come we were not told about this? This was back in the 80's, and yes, perhaps I was still a kid back then, only worrying if Optimus Prime would return from death or if Gaban was more a sissy than Ultraman.
But even then, we as little tots would have at least heard of some stories like how there was a cholera epidemic then which involved 'lou shu fan' or in English, rat tail noodles (Do not be alarmed, as these are rice noodles but only named as such), but yet, we have never heard of the Bukit Merah rare earth processing expedition. AND IT IS NEAR IPOH NO LESS!!What the heck?!

Maybe my parents didn't think i would be old enough to understand back then.
Or back then, media was more controlled and stringent. Or perhaps the thought of higher GDP growth was good for a building economy back then. And perhaps they didn't know the outcome of radioactivity from the produce waste that would now cost them RM303 million to clean up, and after 2 decades later it has not been fully resolved.

However, the question today would be this, are we going to let history repeat itself?
It is sad to read of stories of the people who have experienced it, and are now paying the price for it.
And yet, as humans, we never do learn.

China is the largest rare earth producing, processing and export nation in the world. And perhaps, with more and more rare earth plants closing after environmental concerns, perhaps China will take full monopoly of the market. And perhaps, it may be fair that China's concerns are usually building up its economy without regards of any environmental concerns. Where else can you get fake eggs or melamine in milk?
Perhaps my assessment on China is not even fair, but that is what I observed thus far and it is quite unethically disturbing.

Should we then forsake the few for larger monetary gain? I guess it's easy for the government to allow policies at the expense of, say a small population. But surely that is unethical and if we get into the lowdown on human rights, then everyone under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution has the right to live!

I have no answers but merely questions on this:-

1) Is higher GDP growth worth risking the lives of the people of Gebeng?
2) Are we ready to have another processing plant where the first one has failed?
3) A review panel will be formed to review the scope of the Lynas plant but is the review of the scope clear and by whose standards? Not China's I hope.
4) Lynas is from Australia, and Australia has hordes of land, so why not build a processing plant over there?
5) If the Australian parliament reports of the inherent dangers of the processing plants and Australia is privy enough to not have it in their backyard, then why are we ignorant of ours?
6) And if sh*t does happen, are we prepared to face it?

I don't know about you, but with our leaking roofs in Parliament, I somehow have very little confidence in our safety measures.
And we shouldn't even begin to talk about the proposed nuclear plants.

Well, rare earths have their benefits, and most ironically, the metals produced from rare earth are used to manufacture batteries for the Priuses and Insights. Talk about irony! hahaha.

I guess, if I were given a chance to weigh both, the benefits and the detriments, right now, or perhaps in decades to come, we will be benefactors of more detriments instead.

I know which stand I will take and I will concur with the citizens of Gebeng, Kuantan.

Once bitten, twice shy.
I will be staying tuned to more news especially from the Malaysian Insider.You can follow it too from this link.

No comments: