Blue's Clues Comes to Life: the Case of the Strangely Coloured Dogs

by ar3210 on November 8, 2017 - 4:13pm

People often say that dogs are man’s best friend. I know that, for me, this saying is all too true; I don’t know what I would do without my dogs. So when pollution has direct impacts on our loveable canine companions, that is a sign that something must be done. The article I chose is called “The blue dogs of Mumbai: industrial waste blamed for colourful canines” by the Guardian authors.

            This article discusses a manufacturing company who was caught dumping wastes into nearby rivers. Some of the waste dumped was dyes, which turned stray dogs who used the river for bathing and recreation purposes a questionable shade of blue. Upon seeing the blue dogs, activists complained to the local pollution control board, who promptly shut down the company responsible for this pollution. The purpose of this news piece was to present evidence that Mumbai waterways were being polluted and impacting local dogs. The evidence here was obvious: dogs are not naturally blue, and seeing blue canine’s wandering around the streets was clear evidence that waterways were being polluted. The main actors involved were the manufacturing company, who was responsible for the pollution, as well as the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, who investigated the situation and shut down the company.

            This article is an example of instrumental tools of environmental management.  The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board acts as an agency that implements policy regarding localized pollution. By assessing the situation, they were able to determine the source of pollution and close down the company responsible. Without this control board, the problem could have gone unchecked and impacts could have been felt on communities outside of canine’s. While I am not totally sure of Mumbai laws in relation to environmental protection, I think substantive policy instruments could prove particularly useful in situations like these. Laws that strictly prohibit pollution and place penalties on those who continue to pollute would likely reduce rates of pollution by a lot,

            Value is also displayed in this article, as values between big companies and smaller players likely vary drastically. Let’s look at dogs, for example. Dogs are simple creatures who really just want to be fed and loved. They don’t value things like money but instead value simpler parts of life. On the other hand, human values vary endlessly and are much more selfishly driven. Big companies usually value money and capital accumulation, and their decisions typically reflect these values. In situations where a decision is required between economic gain or environmental wellbeing, many companies would opt for economic gain. By dumping waste in a river, the manufacturing company would have saved a lot of money that getting rid of the waste properly would have cost. Dog’s, on the other hand, don’t care about money but instead were just looking for somewhere to swim and clean themselves off.

            Dogs are a precious animal full of nothing but love and adoration, so why should they have to suffer from human actions? The pollution of Mumbai rivers caused the furs of stray dogs to turn blue, sparking action from local control boards and causing the company responsible to be shut down. This exemplifies instrumental tools of environmental management, as a control board was directly responsible for implementing policy. It also displays differing values, as corporate economic greed caused values for profits to outweigh values of environmental wellbeing.