Smokestacks in the Water

As the industrial era blossomed into in all-out revolution, smokestacks soared into the air like flags of an industrial army marching into the future. No one thought the air, as unending as it seemed, had a limit to its capacity for harm. In the beginning the smokestacks stood for jobs, progress and plenty. Today these smokestacks stand as a reminder of our foolhardy headlong rush towards our own demise.
What if I told you that we have not learned our mistakes, except to hide these dangers from view? In a world that is rapidly being shaped and reshaped by overpopulation and climate change a new set of smokestacks is reaching into a wondrous and seemingly endless abyss, to dispel the new by-products of progress.
Miles offshore water-deprived countries like Australia, Saudi Arabia and India, pipes lead to and from the oceans of our Earth to water desalination plants. They intake the saltwater of our seas and purify them for an anxiously thirsty population, then redeposit the “waste” of super concentrated brine back into the oceans.
Currently we are standing on the precipice of world destruction, watching countries quibble over the right of one sovereign nation to pollute our air while another must grin and bear the detriments. This is all a warning for our future exploits into the seas. If we do not address international laws of water pollution and strengthen our artillery of laws to battle this pollution problem before there is sizable damage, we will be destined to repeat the mistakes of smokestacks past.
The UN and the international community need to address tougher laws with respect to pollution and water desalination plants. Currently “salt” is not listed as one of the many actionable pollutants under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) § XII. The impacts of this, while at first may only be of local concerns to polluting nations, will quickly grow into outright disputes of sovereignty if we allow unabated proliferation of water desalination plants to continue–not to mention the destruction of one of our most precious resources, water.

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