Professionalism and Ethical Issues

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The NSW Department of Primary Industries prohibited fishing in Fullerton Cove after it was discovered that the water was contaminated with perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a carcinogen. The poison was identified in netted fish and prawns and was likely to impair customers' health. The case sparked significant concern among officials and residents, who began expressing ethical concerns about the situation. The authorities' restriction appears to have destabilized fishing and caused panic among the people that their lives would be jeopardized due to the possibility of cancer cases. In banning the fishing, ethical questions on whether the act was morally justified is evident. Did the authorities consider the consequences of their decision on the prospects of the fishermen or they just ignored? At the same time, was it morally right for the Department of Defence and NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to withhold the information regarding the dangers until when it was late? Evidently, the banning of fishing by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the acceptance of the ban by the prawners' association as well as the delay of communication by the Department of Defence and NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) are issues that raise ethical concerns.

First, the Department of Defence and NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) deliberate delay of informing the public is not morally right. From the consequential ethics, the two authorities did not consider the possible effects of letting people utilize poisoned waters. The fact that they knew that there were chemicals being channelled to the water body illustrates their insensitivity to the health of the residents and consumers of prawns, crabs and fish. As the case presents itself, some cases of cancer including bowel cancer that were reported are attributed to the contamination of water. Hence, it is undeniable that the menace could have been prevented through early alert on the people by the concerned authorities. Additionally, the two departments contravened the non-consequential ethic by ignoring their sense of duty. As the voices of the society, the two were supposed to inform the public of what was going on. Hence, to withhold the information until when suspicions were raised indicate that they broke the moral law. Although some critics might argue that the two influential parties were acting non-sequentially by determining what to d as authorities, it is inevitable that their deeds violated the utilitarian values. It follows that their silence posed a threat to many lives in the affected place. Hence, the two authorities were morally wrong to decide to keep the public ignorant of their right to know and should feel guilty for their act.

Second, NSW Department of Primary Industries ban of fishing is morally right despite its negative effects on the traders. The department considered the devastating effects of fishing in the contaminated water and decided to stop the exercise. By extension, the NSW considered the utilitarian values of ensuring that many people are happy and safe from contamination. It happens that there are several people who have been feeding from the sea food that may have poisons that can expose them to health risks. One of the cases, where a man succumbs to bowel cancer is an example of how the poisoning affected the residents. Further, the department exercised its sense of duty by instructing the end of fishing. As the authorized body, it is morally right to dictate on some actions for the good of many people. Needless to say, being the higher authority grants it the power to make valuable non-consequential decisions that are constructively good for the society. Critics, however, might argue that the department acted with a sense of egoism. That is, the NSW was just showing off their powers only to lift the ban when people have forgotten the current sensation on the matter. As it appears, the department issued a ban for a specific time until when they will lift. Questions emerge as to whether the banning is aimed at helping people or just showing power of the authority. Regardless of that, the banning is appropriate considering the effects of pollution on the lives of the residents.

Third, the prawners' association acceptance of the ban by NSW despite losses they will incur demonstrates great ethical values. According to the association, they did not want to sell contaminated food to their clients. Evidently, the group considered the utilitarian values of ensuring that the largest number of people is safeguarded from imminent dangers. Moreover, they acted on natural laws of ensuring that they preserved lives. Hence, after the announcement of the ban, they accepted the move although they know that they will be out of business until the ban is lifted. But did they have a choice considering that the ban was issued by a higher authority? Considerably, the association had little power to alter the decision by NSW. Their actions were non-consequential since it was the authority that passed the decree. If they needed the best for the society, they should have stopped fishing before NSW issued the ban. To some extent, the association became helpless before the law and had to accept defeat in a constructive way. They followed the rules to avoid conflict with the authorities and to create an illusion that they wanted good for the majority.

Remarkably, the level of awareness on the dangers of the poisoning of Fullerton Cove dictated that action should be done. As a result, the relevant authorities had to accept the need for drastic actions to avoid conflict with the community. The NSW had to raise a ban on fishing after the Department of Defence and NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) belatedly announced that the water was contaminated. Inevitably the prawners' association had nothing more to do but to accept the ban and wait for its lifting. Ideally, moral considerations became the basis of every decision made by the affected stakeholder.

QUESTION 2

Professionals exhibit great values that differentiate them from other individuals without specialized knowledge. First, they bear responsibility to their clients and are entrusted with the requisite ability to guarantee quality services. They are not careless and are rather specific in their execution of their duties. For example, an automotive engineer deals with the automatic movement of machines while a nurse will handle patients. Second, the professionals are accountable in terms of the quality of the services they provide. An engineer for that matter, must act in accordance to the areas they have been trained. Third, they are autonomous since they provide conditions for their work in order to meet the needs of their clients. Fourth, they are selective to their clients. They do not just accept any client but rather choose them according to their needs at the moment. Fifth, professionals also deal with their clients directly instead of using middlemen as a link. Importantly, professionals adhere to ethical constraints that guide them towards their provision of quality services. Ideally, professionals are unique from the general persons delivering different services to the society. The former are expected to work with precision and to guarantee their clients satisfying services.

It follows that professionals have ethical and moral foundations that are essential in their domain. Hence, it is important to ask if the relevant ethical and morals concerns were considered by engineers during their projects. One such example is the Chernobyl nuclear experiment that led to a disastrous accident in history. As per different studies, the accident occurred owing to the failures of the concerned engineers to act based on moral and professional considerations. The result was an accident that brought regrets and whose effects are still being felt today. The experiment was done in Pripyat in the Soviet Union and it began during a night safety test (Ingram, 2005). Apparently, a close look at the nature of the test indicates that here were many assumptions and careless decisions made in the project. Many scholars have raised questions as to why professionals, despite their expertise, decided to make wrong choices and subject lives of thousands of people at risk, including themselves. Were the decisions under the influence of some forces or just professionals? Why did the experts make uninformed decisions while oblivious of the dangers they were exposed to? Such questions are evident in the Chernobyl accident studies here engineers has been blamed for the disaster.

Notably, during a late night test, engineers deliberately switched off the safety systems leading to reaction flaws. There were uncontrolled reactions that caused water flashes and consequently a steam explosion. Questionably, why did the engineers remove the safety systems yet they knew of the dangers that they were creating? The engineers failed to adhere to the responsibility of ensuring that there is safety of their clients. By using their powers to alter the safety systems, the engineers allowed their egos to mislead them into making the wrong decisions. They became insensitive those that trust them with the duty of preserving their lives. At the same time, they ill-considered their contribution in the society and the consequences of their actions, that they can harm themselves and the people around them. They ignored their sense of duty as professionals and chose to pursue their selfish interest of experimenting on the sensitive project that brought devastating human losses. In essence, tampering with the safety system was the greatest violation of professional rules by the engineers who were entrusted with providing accurate services. But why did the engineers dismissed the use of the safety system during the project? Could there be a reason behind their decision?

Yet that was not the only deliberate mistake by engineers. The professionals, led by the controller of the Kiev grid let the reactor shutdown to start again yet there were no experts to monitor it. Ideally, the project was due to end during the day while the team of the night shift was scheduled to maintain the process. However, it all flopped and the process proceeded into the night. It raises questions as to why the engineers, despite their experience did not adhere to their program. It indicates that professionalism was not exercised as pragmatic rules took control. The responsible persons did what they considered was right at the time or what was then possible to work. In the process, mistakes were made leading to the tragedy. Professionals should learn to stick to their schedules so that accidents are minimized. When schedules must be violated, there should be adequate precaution to ensure that there is absolute safety and assurance of delivery of quality services. Had the Chernobyl engineers adhered to their plan without being pragmatic in their execution of services, accident could have been avoided. Hence, negligence can destroy the values of professionalism. Sadly, the engineers also ignored alarms raised by the system concerning the failures. If the required response was put in place, such accident could not have happened.

Conversely, the project was supposed to generate electricity in a larger scale to the many consumers. The engineers were experimenting on a better way of ensuring that more power was produced for public consumption. In the process, many key issues were ignored by the professionals. They just focused on the end rather than the means. They looked at the project from the non-consequential perspective where they altered the system operation without considering the effects and as a result, they promoted the occurrence of the accident. Regardless of that engineers are to blame for their lack of adherence to the professional conduct.

References

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Ingram, S. (2005). The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. New York: Facts on File.

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May 10, 2023
Category:

Life Science Psychology

Subcategory:

Hobby

Subject area:

Fishing Poison Authority

Number of pages

7

Number of words

1919

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