A Blacker Forest

According to an article in Bangkok's The Nation newspaper this week, a Thai Airways plane flying from Zurich to Bangkok experienced a "technical problem with its air pressure data system" shortly after takeoff, forcing the pilot to return to the Zurich Airport. Before doing so, however, the Thai pilot - acting on advice from officials at Zurich Airport - dumped 45 tons of fuel over the Black Forest in Southwest Germany. The newspaper article claimed that "the fuel dumping presented no danger to people or the environment."

After reading that statement I was incredulous. Spreading 45 tons of fuel over a forest presents no danger to the environment? Are readers supposed to blindly accept such declarations (like believing what your government tells you?) and turn the page? Are these people graduates from the George W. Bush School of Destructive Environmental Studies or what? How can they be certain that dumping such an insanely large quantity of jet fuel over a forest is not going to harm animals, trees, the water supply, or perhaps even someone camping in the area? Regardless of the need to lessen the plane's weight before landing, such a callous disregard for the environment is very disturbing.


John in Atlanta said...

If my calculations are correct, 45 tons of fuel is approximately 13,000 gallons give or take. That's a lot of liquid falling into streams, trees, habitats, etc. And they said it's no big deal? I won't even dump 4 quarts of oil in my yard like my redneck neighbor does. Thank god I'm moving.

Tom said...

Just playing devils advocate here.. but.. wouldn't you need to factor in the speed of the jet, the rate at which the fule is dumped, the plane's altitude.. the weather conditions.. etc..

Then you have to factor in the risks associated with not dumping the fuel..

Certainly dumping that much jet fuel over a 1sq mile area would result in toxic conditions. If it's spread over 50sq miles, is it harmful?

Where are you moving to?

John in Atlanta said...

I have no idea how fast the plane was going. If they determined that the load was dumped specifically on the Black Forest I would assume it was more or less contained there. 13,000 gallons spread over a forest would be damaging to some degree regardless of how much it was dispersed due to speed, weather or any other factor. Now if they had just said it was dumped over Germany, that would be more widespread and maybe the damage would have been much less. I personally don't want any amount of jet fuel dumped anywhere near me.

We're looking for another house in this same area. I don't want my kids to have to change schools. They're in the Marietta City School System now and I refuse to let them attend Cobb County schools.

Jimbob said...

The "no damage to the enviroment"
angle might have turned out a little differently if some poor chump had been lighting up a smoke when all that fuel came raining down ! As Napoleon Dynamite would say--"Freakin'Idiots!!!"

John in Atlanta said...

Yeah could you imagine lighting a lighter in a fine mist of jet fuel. Lotsa fun. Napoleon Dynamite was great flick. Vote for Pedro!

Bangkok Bertha said...

Someone just told me that it is their understanding that jet fuel can "vaporize" if dumped at a high enough altitude. Any of you science students out there know if that is fact or fiction? I suppose it's possible but I still find it hard to believe such a big load of fuel would just evaporate - or vaporize - without harming anything.