Author Topic: politically unstable material  (Read 2450 times)

Offline Takashi

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politically unstable material
« on: October 28, 2018, 02:05:20 pm »
I would appreciate it if you could help me with the underlined part.

"Perhaps the most visible evidence of the waste crisis is the problem of how to dispose of the mountains of solid waste from cities, which is being generated at the rate of more than five pounds a day for every citizen of this country, or approximately one ton per person per year. But two other kinds of waste pose equally difficult challenges. The first is the physically dangerous and politically unstable material known as hazardous waste, which accompanied the chemical revolution of the 1930s, and which the United States now produces in roughly the same quantities as solid waste from cities. (This is a conservative estimate, one that would double if we counted all the hazardous waste that is currently free from regulation for a variety of administrative and political reasons.)"

I can understand that hazardous waste is physically dangerous, but I can't figure out why the waste can be "politically unstable." The passage was written by Al Gore , in "Earth in the Balance   Ecology and the Human Sprit." I would appreciate it if you could paraphrase the part.

Thank you very much.

Takashi

Offline Takashi

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Re: politically unstable material
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 01:40:54 am »
I just checked the original by Al Gore and found that "unstable" was "volatile" in the original. But I still cannot understand what hazardous waste can be "politically volatile." Could it be that it could cost a politician his or her career?
I am very sorry that I didn't use the original version.
I really appreciate it if you could help me with the expression.

Takashi

Offline admin

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Re: politically unstable material
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 09:44:14 am »
Takashi,
It does seems a strange expression. I can only speculate... I think it means that when party is in power, this stuff is hazardous and should be banned; but when the other party is in power, the danger is over exaggerated and this stuff should be continued in use.
Best wishes,

Duncan

Offline Darryl

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Re: politically unstable material
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 10:56:10 am »
I think that politically unstable (or especially 'volatile') would mean that the issue is something that politicians (from whatever party) have difficulty in regulating or creating legislation to control.  Hazardous waste is, by definition, dangerous stuff and would require strong, and perhaps unpopular legislation. A 'political hot potato' is a term often heard in such cases.

Offline Takashi

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Re: politically unstable material
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2018, 03:19:07 pm »
Thank you very much indeed, Mr Baker and Darryl!
I really appreciate it.


Takashi