Chapter 17: Pollution of Environment

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) has said that we should not pollute our environment otherwise it would become impossible to live on this planet. Definitely he had our times in mind when he made those remarks. Pollution was not a problem in his time. There was not a single factory in existence and metals were smelted in small furnaces by burning wood. This was not a theory but a scientific fact which cannot be refuted. It is estimated that if air pollution increases at the present rate for 50 years more, 50% of plankton will die and the quantity of oxygen in the air would be reduced by the same proportion.

The rich nation of Japan ignored the advice of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) and polluted its environment and suffered the consequences. After World War II, in which Japan was defeated, the average yearly income of a Japanese worker was only US$ 30. Today it is US$500. In the production of ships, radios, TVs, tape-recorders, computers, rayon cloth etc, it has given birth to numerous diseases which were never known to have been existed. A new and dangerous disease has appeared recently in Japan. This disease is called Eta Eta because the patients cry Eta Eta in pain. The first symptom of the disease is severe and unbearable pain in the bones. After sometime, the bones become so brittle that they break into pieces like glass. The cause of this disease is accumulation of large quantities of cadmium in the body by drinking water and eating agricultural products which have been contaminated by that element. Another new disease has appeared on Kyushu in Japan. Those who suffer form it lo! se their eyesight and the tissues of their bodies wither away. As a result, they cannot move their limbs. If they are not treated properly they gradually die. The cause of the disease is accumulation of mercury in the body through polluted water and food.

From the time of Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, till today about 40,000 kinds of disease have been diagnosed, their symptoms recorded and treatment prescribed, but the diseases, which have appeared in Japan due to the pollution of their environment are unknown to the science of medicine.