I’m reaching out because I’m trying to kick off a fund-raiser for a long-term project of my own devising. The aim is to document the world’s worst affected areas of environmental degradation through human action. I forsee a series of ten full-length documentaries, accompanied by photographs and daily blogs. A book of the photos will follow in time. The first episode will look at Runit Dome on Enewetak in the Marshall Islands. (Please see the attachments)
Runit dome, called the Tomb by the people that live in Enewetak, is full of highly radioactive debris left over from the US’s atomic testing on the atoll, 111,000 cubic yards of it, enough to fill a small stadium. The problem, and it is a huge problem, is that rising sea levels mean the dome will soon be partially underwater and it’s contents washed out into the Pacific. The dome was supposed to last a thousand years but no-one accounted for global warming when it was built and the dome is already showing signs of cracking. Enewetak is a maximum of 6ft above sea level. There is already water inside the dome, this much we know and that, in places, it is as radioactive outside as it is inside. A direct hit from a typhoon would shatter the dome.
Now, a few of the A-bombs tested on Enewetak did not explode as intended and just spewed raw plutonium all over the atoll – that’s what’s under the dome and about to be liberated. It’s a catastrophe in the waiting and no-one is doing anything about it. At the very least the contents of the dome need to be moved, ideally somewhere in the US where they belong. But it’s not on anyone’s radar. It’s just sitting there, waiting to poison the entire Pacific. The total fallout from the 67 total nuclear blasts on Enewetak and Bikini has been calculated at an unimaginable 3000 times that of the Chernobyl disaster. You can imagine what this will do to the food chain.
Plankton, and any fish that feed on it, is still so radioactive from the testing between 1946 and 1958, that they will fog a photographic plate if placed on it. The islanders’ traditional diet of crabs and coconut has vanished as the islands are too contaminated still. They suffer a variety of illnesses as a result of the testing, including thyroid cancer.That situation is about to get exponentially worse if nothing is done.
My intent is to go to Enewetak and speak to the inhabitants who have been trying for decades to get the US to take ownership of the mess it left behind, document how they are surviving and see what their hopes are for the future. This is just the first salvo in a concerted effort to try and make all our futures more liveable by revealing the full scope of the problems we are creating for ourselves and getting respective governments to clean up their acts.
I have started a Generosity fundraiser that you can view here:
Please contribute if you can, in any amount.