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By Joanna Walsh
The papers and television programs seems to be populated these days with stories about toxic spills, negligent dumping of hazardous materials and indifferent authorities. There can be no doubt that the planet is suffering from pollution. Our seas are struggling to maintain the many forms of life it has successfully done for thousands of years. Our rivers are polluted. Without equipment such as spill containment berms the damage can escalate considerably.

Containing the potential damage is, of course, the very first and most urgent priority. This is not the end of the story, however. The pollutants need to be neutralized, removed to a safe place and disposed of in a legal manner. This is not easy. Specialized equipment and highly trained cleaning up teams are required and these are not always readily available.

Fortunately, much research are being done on pollution prevention, control and clean up. There are already several artificial agents that can either absorb or neutralize pollutants. However, these agents are extremely expensive and not all pollutants can be neutralized or absorbed. Another problem lies in the fact that the agents are not always readily available when an incident occurs.

One of the biggest breakthroughs to date is the development of a super agent that is not only able to neutralize toxins and other pollutants, but to actually transform it into a brand new substance. This substance can be used in industry. It is used in the manufacture of various rubber products and it is an economical ingredient when road surfaces are prepared. In this way the cost of cleaning operations can be lowered.

The fact that cleaning operations are so expensive and the further fact that so few trained teams are available makes it necessary to prioritize. Most authorities do not bother with spills in rough seas, in remote areas or when the pollutants will eventually degrade naturally. Instead, priority is given to densely populated areas, to cases where the spilled toxins are highly potent and in areas where there is a real danger to the local natural environment and human health.

According to many pollution experts and environmental experts legislation regarding pollution is sadly lacking any teeth. Many large companies vagrantly ignore the threat that their practices pose to the environment and human health. Activists want the government to become tougher and to punish wrongdoers severely. Of course, large chemical companies vigorously oppose such amendments to the current laws.

When the cost of cleaning up operations are tallied it should not include the cost of the actual operation itself. The ramifications of the spillage are often so serious that no monetary value can be assigned. Wildlife that are killed, humans that get sick and entire environments that get poisoned for years on end is often the result of such incidents.

No amount of legislation will negate the fact that spillages are bound to occur as long as vast quantities of toxins and pollutants are transported, manufactured and used every day. The very least operators in this industry can do is to make sure that they have equipment to contain pollution as soon as it occurs.

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The Importance Of Always Having Spill Containment Berms Available

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