Hudson River

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

General Electric (GE) has dumped nearly 1.3 million pounds of toxic man made chemicals into the Hudson River since the late 1940's. These chemicals have traveled down stream polluting nearly190 miles of river. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designed a plan to dredge the river and has issued it to GE. However, General Electric doesn't want to spend the money to dredge the Hudson River. Part of GE's plan against dredging the Hudson river, is to persuade surrounding communities about the inconvenience and nuisance a dredging rig will be in their backyards. Environmentalists believe a little inconvenience to the communities is well worth the value of having a clean river for the future.

GE is spending 15 million dollars on a public relations campaign against the cleanup. During this campaign GE uses a deontology approach to persuade the communities that dredging is not the answer. GE believes that the PCBs in the river are buried under sediment and that dredging will only resuspend them.

This is a rational thought by GE, according to deontology when you have a principle that is rational then you are acting ethically. Deontology is a theory of duties, it can deny what is the best solution to make everything equal. For GE, deontology is the best ethical way to go about making the overall population of people happy. To GE not dredging the river because it will cause PCBs to resuspend is ethically rite. GE is giving bumper stickers and lawn signs away for free that read "anti dredge". If they get the public as well as surrounding communities to believe that not dredging the Hudson River is ethical, than they will save millions of dollars. GE is telling surrounding communities that this project will be very disruptive. Imagine having a huge dredging rig in your backyard for years to clean up what is safely buried. This campaign is stirring up major controversy which will drag out the process of dredging the river and that is exactly what GE wants. The longer this argument goes on the longer it will take to settle the issue and for GE the longer it will take to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in this clean up. GE has also hired some of the best lawyers to launch a major lobby in Washington D.C. The ethical decision of GE's base plans is in the best interests of people who do not want their lives to be inconvenienced in anyway. GE believes dredging will only make the river worse.

Environmentalists believe that we have an obligation to reduce the suffering and maximize the happiness of future generations. The dredging process will inconvenience the communities but they should sacrifice their own happiness for the people of the future. The people of the future will have rights to the river just like we do. It is up to us to clean it up and restore it into the clean river just like we found it. We have to give the people of the future the same opportunities that we had. Replace the fishery that was completely destroyed, so children can fish safely and enjoy water activities. Environmentalists also believe that we should look into the distant future like twenty or thirty generations from now not just one or two. By not cleaning up the Hudson River GE is only looking into the immediate future. If this river is not cleaned up we cannot compensate future generations for its loss. We have to start viewing the world though the eyes of future generations. Forget about your personal convenient life for a little bit and let them clean this river up for future generations. GE has misled the communities surrounding the Hudson River, PCBs are resuspending everyday and washing down river. According to GE they are safely buried beneath sediment and will not rise into the water column unless disturbed by dredging. GE also believe that these chemicals are harmless to people. However these chemicals are known to cause cancer to laboratory rats. These lies from GE are ethically wrong. GE wants what is best for their wallets not what is best for future generations.

I am very disappointed in the GE's efforts to confuse and misinform the public with a campaign of paid advertising. The public should get the facts not just the economic point of view from GE. There is a concern about public health and the future of the river, GE needs to take care of what has to be done. This is a rational thought and through deontology this is ethically rite. Making GE clean up what they have illegally dumped would be ethically rite. This river does not belong to them, it belong to the people and people of the future. It will not clean itself, so the company responsible for this mess should clean it up. The new technology we have is environmentally safe for dredging and can get the job done correctly. One concern is the fish that live and spawn in the Hudson River. These fish may travel hundreds of miles to reach the river and reproduce. These chemicals that are in the ground will enter the food chain and eventually end up on someone's plate as a meal. If this river is not cleaned up these fish will contaminate people all over the world. Commercial fishermen who catch these fish do not know if they have swam into the Hudson River. They make their living off of fish by selling them to the public. Someone will eventually eat the PCBs from GE not even knowing it. These are cancer-causing chemicals that are dangerous to the food chain. They need to be cleaned up as soon as possible. No one else but GE is responsible for this clean up. They should take some responsibility and put out the money. This is about the future of people and we have to give them a chance to enjoy the nature of this river. Not to pollute this river so badly that all they will never get an opportunity to experience the pleasure of having such a wonderful place. This river is a vital natural resource that has to be cleaned up for our future generations. It is GE's responsibility as the company who contaminated the water to put out the money and get the job d



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