channel4.com - News
As darkness falls the pictures from the burning site are awsome. Amidst new explosions in the last hours, we see enourmous flames and one can almost feel the heat. The clouds of filth have now expaned eastwards and cover much of London.
I was curious to hear the public health spokeswoman. In an attempt to convince us that the clouds are not toxic, she told us "they're only an irritant - just hydrocarbons!" That's no comfort for those with asthma or other breathing difficulties - especially when the temperature drops tonight and the air pollution gets worse. But I'm more intruiged by the reference to hydrocarbons.
This may be the worst such incident in peacetime Europe but the source is only one small part of the supply infrastructure. And that in turn is only one small part of the production process via oilfields and refinaries. Watching the sheer volume of visible hydrocarbon spewing out of Hemel Hempstead, it is easier than ever to comprehend the far greater amount of invisible hydrocarbons we methodically emit every day. This highly opaque disaster is small change compared to the slow transparent death we are inflicting on the planet every moment.
If there is any benefit to be had in the legacy of this event, it should be in the memory of the clarity shown to us by this exhibition and its vivid illustration of the harm we do ourselves. Sadly, it is a message lost on the myriad arseholes whose reponse has been to barrage the petrol pumps in the misguided belief that this will somehow have an effect on their precious fuel supply. I rather hope they do choke on it.