The European Commission last week wagged its finger at our snail’s pace efforts to end the chemical contamination of drinking water used by 180,000 people.
It is not too hard to imagine the inner, unspoken thoughts of those Brussels bureaucrats as they tried to advance a problem first highlighted almost two decades ago.
Any impatience, or even bemusement at our casual reaction, was expressed through a warning that if the exposure of people to Trihalomethane (THM) was not resolved within four months the case may move to the European Court of Justice.
THM is a health risk and its presence in drinking water is a breach of the Drinking Water Directive.
“High THM levels have been linked to liver, kidneys and central nervous system diseases, bladder and colon cancer risks, as well as to effects on foetal growth, foetal viability and risks of foetal malformations,” the commission underlined.
It may well be that a problem first identified 17 years ago will be resolved in the next four months.
However, it may not be for all too obvious reasons but the ultimatum does raise persistent questions — why does it take us so very long to take basic steps to protect communities’ health and why have we such a cavalier attitude to water resources?
And, maybe most revealing of all, why do we have to be threatened with court action to do what is ultimately for our own benefit?
Sometimes we are indeed our own worst enemies.