Manimata and mercury: the rude awakening
It was like the loss of innocence, one of the first incidents to open humankind's eye to what industrial pollution can do. One of the earliest tragedies caused by chemical pollution was the painful death and disability that afflicted thousands of people living around Japan's Minamata Bay in the 1950s-60s. The victims had eaten dead fish with very high content of methyl mercury in their body tissue. A local chemicals giant, Chisso Corporation, had been callously dumping mercury into the waters of the bay for 12 years.
The significance of the disaster in human history can be gauged by the fact that a new disease was named after the polluted bay