Monday, April 2, 2012

Lab-made organs anyone?

I am so happy with latest development in medical science.

Lab-made organs could help solve global organ donor shortage

It is the happiest news indeed. If the development could push on the "fast forward" button, more lives can be saved, human trafficking related to human organ trading could be completely eliminated and thousands and thousands of patients in the waiting list will see rays and lights of hope and lives can be normal again.

I have always been looking forward for such development because I feel the future of organ donation should rely on medical science and the invention of machines which could sustain lives.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My 7 Demands for Lynas

When issues get started, heated arguments began, I always take time to
1. See both supporters and opponents, what they say, do and how they react

2. Analyse both sides of the divide, regardless of parties

3. It will take me another week or weeks before I issue a statement or my opinions about things

What I agree with both Himpunan Hijau group and the opposition parties:
- I agree that we should take Bukit Merah as reference but it should be a learning curve instead of using it as a Stop Lynas point

- I agree on the possibilities of toxic wastes affecting people perhaps 30km radius of the plant

- I totally agree that if the plant is radioactive, measures must be taken to protect staffs and people around the plant

- I also agree with the many people supporting the movement, very rare we see movements of people and now even silent majority has taken things to street

But I also somewhat agree with the government and Lynas Corp on certain matters:
- that the plant is merely a plant with low radiation level, not like a radioactive plant as claimed by the opposition

- I agree that a Parliament Select Committee be established to look into the matter

- I agree that we have foreign direct investment and it will be very difficult to just stop the project and eventually lose interest from foreign countries to invest in Malaysia in the future. Now I know people also talked about government wants money and don't care about the people anymore - but let's just take things one by one

- I agree that the Department of Environment and AELB should be taking charge of all monitoring

Yet, both arguments - as many things are - both parties think they are right and has got no wrong. I disagree with that. Looking at both sides of the divide, I think both have their points but a question remains unanswered, 'What's Next?' Too often we see war of words, courses of blaming game but not a practical solution to the real issue.

It is not the number of people attending Himpunan Hijau that matters, it is how to solve the problem.
It is not how safe the goverment thinks Lynas is, it is how to solve the main problem pertaining the continuance or stopping Lynas

In my humble opinion, humblest of a human in Malaysia (and not an expert in this field), let me list my demands for Lynas:
1. AELB published that RM50 million deposit was to be paid by Lynas, but I think RM50 million does not justify. Learning from Bukit Merah which made the government spent RM200 million to clean the plant, the minimum deposit should at least be RM100 million

2. If it is true like what Himpunan Hijau claimed that the toxic wastes could harm people of 30km radius, Lynas perhaps should have an option for relocation for residents staying within 30km radius

3. The worry on radioactivity, I believe all staffs and people in and near the plant should be informed of the highest and lowest mSv counts every month, with all areas within the plant be installed a monitoring of the radiation level so staffs will know what they are exposed to

4. Since the government has given 12 years tax break to Lynas, perhaps we the rakyat should demand Lynas to allocate a dividend for environmental projects and for the benefit of rakyat.

5. I also demand Lynas to be more open and transparent! I'd like to see Lynas opening its doors for public visits and make it an educational visit by having people to explain and show the public how the process of rare earth extraction is being done.

6. I'd demand DOE and AELB to do their job real well, just like how oil palm industry and oil and gas industry are being strictly monitored. Secondly I'd like AELB and DOE to open their inspection sessions to the public, the rakyat, people staying around the plant and maybe Himpunan Hijau activists, perhaps each session is open to a fixed number of observers. How DOE and AELB do their inspection, what inspection standards are being used and how to determine safety levels, all these must be open to the public, more importantly the people around the plant.

7. Welfare of people working in the plant MUST not be compromised. I suggest and demand free full body checkup for all staffs at Lynas yearly. All risks and risk exposure to any radioactivity must be thoroughly informed to the staffs and made understood and signed by both parties before he or she starts working. Just like how it is a requirement for me to thoroughly understand the risks to donate part of my liver to someone. I did it after fully understanding the risks, including 1% death risk during operation and 10% risk of death due to infections.

If Lynas could not fulfill all my demands, I demand that Lynas leaves Malaysia for a better future.

[new] I disagree if we say, "go have Lynas somewhere else but not in Malaysia, but I want benefits of rare earth." A little selfish I think, because is the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) mindset.

I stand corrected on the numbers and certain values I may have wrongly stated.

More reading:

2. What is Radiation?

3. What is the safe level of radiation?

4. Japan Nuclear Emergency: How Much Radiation is Safe?

5. Rare earth extraction process control method based on ion characteristic color detection (Paper presented by Hui Yang)

6.  Are Rare Earth Minerals Too Costly for Environment?

7.  China's Rare Earth Elements Industry: What Can the West Learn?

8. China's environmental watchdog tightens control over rare earth projects


10. Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM V) Proceedings of an international symposium Seville, Spain, 19–22 March 2007

[newly added for my reference]
11. [simplified understanding of rare earth and Lynas] and Part II
Decide for yourself
Think about this. If Australians did not have to endure radioactive radiations from a supposedly Lynas plant back there, why would us Malaysians want to willingly subject our self to a highly risky endeavour?

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone