NT Govt probe (hide?) cases of flesh-eating disease

This is a significant public and environmental health issue. Can we expect an appropriate response or has Xstrata already convinced the NT Government that an unprofitable mine is more important than human and environmental health.

I have lots of questions, can anyone answer them? Clare, John…

If this was known last year why didn’t the NT Government or Xstrata release the information as part of the mining assessment? Granted it may have been in the public domain, but shouldn’t we be able to rely on our own Government to be transparent?

Did Clare Martin know about this, if so, why wasn’t an investigation commenced last year?

Did Senator Campbell know about this before he approved the mine?

Is this how John Howard defines ‘environmentally sustainable fashion’? 

Will it affect the aquatic organisms in the river and the Gulf of Carpentaria?

What do you think?
(from the ABC, again) The Northern Territory’s chief health officer says further research will be conducted into a potential link between flesh-eating bacteria and high zinc levels in the McArthur River.

The Northern Territory Department of Health says four people in six years have been killed by a rare bacteria infection in the Gulf of Carpentaria region.

An article in a British medical journal published last year draws a potential link between high levels of zinc in the McArthur River and an increase in the vibrio flesh-eating bacteria.

Chief health officer Tarun Weeramanthri says after the Department received the report last year, signs were put up in the area to warn people of the danger.

“There are sporadic cases year to year which are to be expected in terms of the number of severe cases of this involving skin and soft tissue infection and blood infection that was of particular concern to us when we were made aware of it,” he said.

McArthur River Mining general manager Brian Hearne has put out a statement saying the article is highly speculative about the role heavy metals in the water may play in the infections.

Mr Hearne says the article contains some factual inaccuracies that have been addressed with the authors and publishers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s1860221.htm

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