Up to 5,000 fish are said to have been killed by a pollution incident in North London. Now imagine 5,000,000 fish killed off the coast of Shetland.
It wasn't a big story, but it made the local news on BBC television last night. Elstree, a small London town once renowned for film making, and immortalised by the Buggles in an eponymous song, has now found another claim to fame, in a small way. Some inconsiderate person, possibly from a restaurant, has apparently dumped a large quantity of cooking oil/fat down a local drain, and this has run straight into a nearly lake killing thousands of fish.
The incident happened Wednesday, possibly a little before then, and is now being tackled by both Thames Water and the Environment Agency. It is believed the lake may take years to recover from this act of criminal stupidity.
It really is a pity this should happen at a time when otters can now be found in every county in England, including the Home Counties, and when the River Wandle - once described as an open sewer - is said to be brimming with life.
Now imagine not some thoughtless restaurateur dumping a few dozen or a few hundred gallons of cooking oil in a lake but another Deepwater Horizon, this time off the coast of Scotland. This is what BP is risking with its switch to the Shetlands. This is what many companies and many countries are risking constantly when they drill for oil under the sea, and when they transport this foul, thick, stinking black liquid in container ships the world over.
The petroleum age is over; it is time for oil companies to shut down their refineries and invest in new, clean, renewable technologies. Well, maybe not so new, after all, the Sun has been around for the past four and a half billion years.
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