Humans have a consistent record of solving one problem but, in the process, creating another bigger one in the process.
That was in evidence today at the Federal Court in Sydney when a class action on behalf of the Wreck Bay community was awarded a $22 million settlement.
For decades firefighting foam containing toxic PFAS was used at two nearby Australian defence sites. It leaked into sacred waterways for more than three decades since the 1970s.
PFAS is a group of over 4000 chemicals.
Some PFAS are very good at resisting heat, stains, grease and water, making them handy for a number of applications - from stain and water protection for carpets, fabric, furniture and apparel to metal plating and aviation hydraulic fluid. That heat resistance and film-forming in water, meant some PFAS were especially effective ingredients in firefighting foams.
As one government website states: "Unfortunately, the properties that make some PFAS useful in many industrial applications and particularly in firefighting foams, also make them problematic in the environment."
A cunning use of the word "problematic" indeed.
Wreck Bay joins a series of other PFAs class action claims at defence bases - Katherine (Northern Territory), Oakey (Queensland) and Williamtown (NSW) - was settled for $212.5 million.
But don't expect this to be the last you hear of Wreck Bay.
Shine Lawyers is considering further court cases on behalf of community members who experienced medical issues through PFAS exposure.
And, from the Mercury's ongoing investigations, the breadth of those issues is eye-openingly shocking.
For those old enough to remember it brings to mind the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s when a drug used to treat nausea in pregnant women resulted in severe birth defects in thousands of children.
One problem solved, another, infinitely more tragic one, created.
On the positive side of the ledger, take a moment to celebrate the spirit of reconciliation when you toddle through Crown Street Mall.
A new exhibition, called Nandhi Ngara (Look Listen), was launched in a blaze of colour and culture.
And who better than Aunty Sharralyn Robinson, best known as Aunty Shas, to explain on the eve of Sorry Day why it's so important: "Our culture and our history belongs to all, to everyone who lives here, who've made Australia their home."
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