[Photo by Yonhap]
Sea salt has seen a three- to four-fold increase in prices in the past two months on cornering and hoarding among consumers in South Korea, and it is even out of stock at some stores. Concerns rise as seafood such as wakame seaweeds, kelps, anchovies, nori seaweeds and shrimps, which frequently appear on the nation’s dining table, are also being hoarded.
This trend is largely attributable to the unscientific and irresponsible propaganda of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and its leader Lee Jae-myung regarding the release of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima. They not only held up banners reading “We’re worried about the salt on our dining table,” but Lee himself exacerbated public concerns by saying that the “price of salt produced before and after the dumping of nuclear wastewater into the ocean will be different.” It has practically incited people to stock up on salt by propelling concerns that sea salt will be contaminated by tritium with the release of Fukushima radioactive water.
However, a scientific approach can easily disprove their claims. Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater. Even if a very small quantity of tritium is contained in the seawater, it will evaporate in the drying process as it has the same chemical composition as water, which means tritium cannot remain in the sea salt.
This is why the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries tested the existence of sea salt 286 times for 12 years following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant explosion but never detected any radioactive material. This is science. The DPK members and Lee must be aware of it, but they do not seem to care about scientific facts.
Lee joined a rally to denounce the Fukushima contaminated water on Saturday and continued to spread myths about the “nuclear wastewater.” He reduced Oxford University Professor Wade Allison, who said wastewater treated by the advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) is not dangerous, as a quack. Yet, it is evident who is the “quack” here, between a scholar who has spent a lifetime studying radiation and layman Lee.
Lee also said he will “protect our oceans and meals against the release of polluted water.” These words do not seem right for a man who has been driving away people’s meals with unscientific rumors. No matter how much Japan is hated, and no matter how politically beneficial an anti-Japan rhetoric is, there can be no justification for an unscientific curse that fuels excessive public anxiety. People need to start believing in science and stop stocking up on salt. Only then will these ungrounded rumors lose ground.
By Editorial Team
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]