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March 11th in Whitehaven - Art Event - Raising Awareness of Ongoing Pollution from Honeycomb of Old Mines

Acid mine drainage pouring into Whitehaven Harbour

Join Us on March 11th in Whitehaven - Colour it Red - Art Event

Thanks to all for sharing and for donating to the crowdfund - we are an amazing 33% of the way towards our very modest target of £2000 which will enable art and science in the mission to help pinpoint the sources of the pollution and find out exactly what is happening in Whitehaven Harbour.  

We would like to invite you to an art event to "Colour it Red" on the harbour at Queen's Dock on Monday March 11th from 1pm to 3pm.  Art materials will be provided for people to have a go at painting and drawing the orange and red pollution pouring into the beautiful Georgian harbour.  The event aims to shine a light on the 'under the radar' unfolding environmental disaster with photos of the drawings to be sent to the authorities responsible for tackling the pollution, eg Coal Authority, Environment Agency and Network Rail.  

The date of March 11th is also the anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima disaster which is still ongoing with releases of radioactive water into the Pacific.  

What has Fukushima got to do with polluted minewater in Whitehaven?  

The authorities here in the UK have carried out minimal testing of the Whitehaven minewater including failing to test for radioactivity.  Radioactive elements are well documented as being present in acid minewater discharge. 

Thanks to your help, dowsers have made initial investigations and scarily have found radioactive elements in the minewater. This is not unusual with deep mining. We will also investigate and compare these initial findings in the water with silt samples, with the assistance of a laboratory.  We need to do so much more and with your help we can.  

As well as the naturally occuring radioactive elements in the minewater pouring into Whitehaven there is another issue that has failed to be addressed and that is the continuing transport of nuclear wastes through the minewater damaged Bransty Tunnel enroute to Sellafield.  The trains have been slowed to 10 miles an hour through the 1 km long tunnel to try and prevent splashback of the acid minewater onto the tunnel walls or the trains, this mitigation is a sticking plaster at best.  We wonder why the tunnel is still being used when clearly there is a problem which could have catastrophic consequences  (rather than using the now dangerously impacted Bransty Tunnel to get shot of wastes to Sellafield, nuclear wastes could stay on reactor sites in their own fuel ponds then dry cask storage ....and passengers could be bussed the 1km accross Whitehaven) 

Event: Colour it Red

The event you are invited to will take place on Monday March 11th at the entrance to Queen's Dock, Whitehaven opposite Wetherspoons from 1pm till 3pm.   All abilities are welcome and there will be materials freely available for people to use.  For those who cannot come along on the day people are invited to email their drawings  to Wastwater@protonmail

Photographs of the drawings/paintings will be sent to the authorities responsible for the pollution pouring into the harbour in Whitehaven along with a letter including the Briefing below from marine expert Tim Deere-Jones. The Briefing indicates that the pollution pouring into the harbour is more than the sum of its already toxic parts given the inevitable naturally occuring radioactivity from the old mines and also the proximity of Sellafield's man-made radioactive discharges.  

Meanwhile Sellafield's  "Social Impact Multiplied" is pouring £millions of public money into projects to make "Whitehaven the tourist capital of the Cumbrian coastline."  Yes Whitehaven is the Jewel in the Crown of the Lake District coastline so Why aren't £Millions being poured into finding the now damaged old mines causing this pollution and testing the harbour water and silt samples daily (rather than just a few times in over a year and in the case of the silt - not at all).  It seems the authorities don't want to know and expose the truth of what is happening.

We need to know in order to help Whitehaven Harbour and the ocean, survive.

Briefing below...

Synergistic effect of heavy metals from Coal Mine Acid water run off and ionising radioactivity

Coal mining acid water runoff is widely reported to contain a range of toxic (heavy) metals, leached from the surrounding rock strata as a result of acid leaching which dissolves the metals. The metals most commonly include copper, cadmium and lead and a number of other metals, usually at lower concentrations. These metals have enviro toxic characteristics and may be damaging to a number of marine species. The degree of damage will depend on both the intensity of the pollution and the duration of the exposure.

There can be no doubt that the exposures to marine life in the “near field” around the Whitehaven harbour have been both intense and prolonged and that the environmental impact of the metal toxicity will be significantly exacerbated by the smothering action of the particulate material in the runoff, which will be flocculating and sinking to the seabed as the “fresh” water discharge meets the saline marine water. I am not aware of any analysis of water sediment or marine life samples from “intermediate” or “far field” sites.

The presence of such metals is now shown to have a synergistic/additive effect with ionising radioactivity in the marine environment. A 2020 study investigated the interactive effects of ionising radiation and a toxic metal (copper/Cu) on both freshwater and marine bivalves (mussel). The study reported that doses of copper were added to differing concentrations of beta emitting Phosphorus 32 (0.1 and 1 micro sievert). Phosphorus 32 has a half-life of around 14 days and is widely used as a radioactive tracer in nuclear medicine.

The study reported that the copper had an “additive” effect on the Phosphorus 32 induced genotoxic response damage across species, cell types and dose rates. The additive effect included increased DNA damage and the expression of key stress related genes. REF: “Evaluation of interactive effects of phosphorus-32 and copper on marine and freshwater bivalve molluscs.” Jha Awadhesh et al’:International Journal of Radiation Biology : 6/10/2020

 It can be proposed, in the absence of any information to the contrary, that other metals found in the Whitehaven acid mine water runoff may also have a similar synergistic/additive effect on regional marine species when coupled with ionising radioactivity.

The implications of this study for wildlife in the Whitehaven area are clear. The copper and other heavy metals present in the acid mine water run off entering the sea at, and via, Whitehaven harbour are shown to increase the impacts of the ionising radioactivity already present in the water column as a result of discharges from regional NPS and Reprocessing sites.

Tim Deere-Jones(Marine Radioactivity Research & Consultancy: Wales) February 2024



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