Altering Medicines

The study of the California based toxicologist indicates that seawater is found to contain pollutants such as plastic additives, flame retardants, and pharmaceutical drugs in high proportion than permitted by the authorities. These pollutants are now showing up in fish tissues as well. It also revealed that high level of female hormone called estrogen is also found in male fish, may be due to some hormone-altering chemicals causing this change. It further stated that as much as 90% of the male fish were found producing egg yolk proteins and one of them even produced eggs. The study also indicated that usual method of diluting pollution with a vast amount of seawater was not a right way to get rid of these new kinds of contaminants. Steven Bay, a toxicologist by profession, is of the view that this study is likely to trigger a new policy debate on incorporating new sewage-treatment methods and facilities. The reasons for the contamination lies in 1 billion gallons of partially treated sewage that flows into the sea every day from four major streams of area.
The scientific study done by the researchers is alarming in the sense that how our ecological system is in peril. The reasons of extinction of many species from our planet are not hard to find. The industrial development and rampant consumption is harming the very basis of natural ecosystem and it is likely to prove disastrous in the long run. Protecting marine life means essentially preserving a food chain that nature has taken millions of years to develop and mankind may destroy in a few decades. The matter is so critical that some drastic measures are urgently needed for a fool proof system to safeguard our environment in general and water as well as air in particular. The above news report does not throw any light on remedial measures of the issue involved. It is not correct to state that sewage treatment plants are failing to remove hormone and hormone-altering chemicals from water because at first hand they were designed to treat only domestic sewage and not non biodegradable wastes. The modern society started making use of cosmetics, paints, pharmaceutical drugs and many more in the last few decades only – much after these sewage treatment plants were designed and put to use. The treatment processes for such stubborn chemicals and pollutants are quite complex and cumbersome. By its very nature being non biodegradable, it is required to devise measures where they are not allowed to go to domestic sewage system. The streams are required to be separated out, collected and then treated separately and allowed to go to ocean or river only when it does not contain toxicity. In another alternative, they can be put through incinerator where they are burnt off. however, they need to be tackled there for the possibility of polluting environment generating toxic flue gases. It is also required to educate people why use of modern cosmetics and decorative products such as paints and other decorative enamels are harmful to our environment and it should be stressed upon to reduce the use of such products as much as possible in our daily life. Protecting the environment and ecological balance is the responsibility of every citizen. Reference Weiss, Kenneth R., (2008), Our Medicines are Altering Marine Biology. 21 May 2011