It is quite appalling when one realizes how detrimental humans have been to this earth that we presently inhabit. A lot of man made disasters are created out of the greediness of corporations that do not care how they contaminate the waters that a local village depends on or even worse is when disasters are created by testing weapons of max destruction that will be utilized during times of terrible wars. It is a shame that there are so many man made disasters. However, it is crucial that future generations become aware of past disasters so that they can prevent history from repeating itself. Here is a list of 15 of the largest man made disasters across the globe.
15. Castle Bravo (March 1, 1954)
The United States detonated the largest thermonuclear device at Bikini Atoll located near the Marshall Islands. The device was 1,000 times as powerful as the nuclear weapons used on Hiroshima. The detonation of the device was part of a larger test operation that was conducted by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Defense. However, the testing turned tragic when the yield of the explosion was miscalculated. Thus, resulting in nuclear fallout over 7,000 square miles which overexposed 655 inhabitants.
14. The Seveso Disaster (July 10, 1976)
An industrial accident just north of Milan, Italy, resulted in the release of the toxic chemical dioxin. It was during the manufacturing of trichlorophenol that chemical substances within a cloud was released. The cloud immediately effected animals, birds and humans who were within the vicinity. However, the public wasn’t notified until 10 days after the accident due to officials knowing how toxic dioxin is and its ability to give animals cancers as shown in studies. The small town of Seveso showed the highest rates of exposure from the accident which resulted in chloracne, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancer.
13. Three Mile Island (March 28, 1979)
A partial nuclear meltdown of a reactor at Three Mile Island in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, released unknown amounts of radioactive gases and iodine. The meltdown was said to have occurred due to a series of mistakes and mechanical errors. It was quite a controversy as to how much radiation was released into the air, as officials were trying to keep fears and lawsuits at bay. It was determined that there was not enough radiation in the areas around the nuclear plant to have any detrimental effects. However, in 1997 the data was re-ran and it was concluded that those that lived near the nuclear plant were two to 10 times as likely to have lung cancer and leukemia when compared to those that lived upwind.
12. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (March 24, 1989)
An Exxon Valdez oil tanker released 11 million gallons of oil after it struck a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. The oil damaged more than 1,300 miles of remote shoreline, permanently damaging the ecosystem. To this day the wildlife is still trying to recover from the disastrous spill. The government has monitored 32 wildlife populations that were injured from the oil, yet in 2010, only 13 of the populations had recovered. Species that are not recovering include a pod of orcas and Pacific herring.
11. Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (April 20, 2010)
The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused the BP pipe to leak oil and gas in an estimated amount of 4.9 million barrels on the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico. It has been recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history having resulted in 11 people killed from the explosion and sea life populations have been noted as being wiped out or heavily injured. There have been reports of still seeing deformed wildlife, although officials attributed the defects to stress caused on the wildlife rather than them ingesting the oil.
10. The Love Canal (1978)
In Niagara Falls, New York, 100 homes and a school were built on top of an industrial chemical dumpsite, where builders removed part of the protective clay cap, which led to the leaching of toxic compounds up through the soil. The community began to see black slop in their yards that contained 82 chemical compounds, 11 of them were suspected to be carcinogens. The residents of Love Canal were left with detrimental health issues such as leukemia and an alarming rate of birth defects occurred among the 98 families that lived there.
9. The Contamination of Anniston, Alabama (1929-1971)
It is in Anniston where the agricultural and biotechnology giant, Monsanto, first created cancer-causing, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dumped them into Snow Creek. PCBs began to show up in resident’s soil making it no longer feasible to grow crops. The people of Anniston had been characterized as one of the most highly exposed people to PCBs which have resulted in health disorders such as diabetes. In 2002, Monsanto was ordered to pay $700 million in damages and for clean up costs of the community.
8. Kuwaiti Oil Fires (January/February 1991)
Saddam’s scorched earth policy in Kuwaiti set 600 oil wells ablaze, creating poisonous smoke that burned for ten months. It is believed that four to six million barrels of oil burned daily during the incident. Five percent of the country’s area was covered with tarcrete, millions of livestock died from blackened lungs and there was an increase in cancer rates.
7. Jilin Chemical Plant Explosion (November 13, 2005)
The Jilin Petrochemical Company had a blockage at the plant’s processing tower which resulted in the explosion of one nitration tower. The cancer-causing liquid, benzene was produced at the plant which is highly toxic before it is burned. The disaster resulted in Six people dead and 70 wounded from the incident.
6. The Contamination of Times Beach, MO (Dec. 1982)
The spraying of oil containing the highly toxic, dioxin, led to the full evacuation and destruction of the small town in Missouri. The spraying of oil was seen as an alternative to water in order to keep the dust down on the roads. The issue was further compacted when the town was flooded by the Meramec River, which spread the toxic oil all over. The disaster resulted in residents being exposed to dioxin and reporting disorders of immune function and muscular problems.
5. The Great Smog (December 1952)
For five days, thick smog comprised of smoke from coal burning and factory emissions overwhelmed London. The smog was brought about from a cold spell that had hit London which in turn led residents to burn coal to heat up their homes. The combined burning of coal from residents and factories led to a thick fog that resulted in poor visibility and 12,000 people had died from breathing in the toxic fumes.
4. The Poisoning of Minamata Bay, Japan (1950s)
Over a period of 37 years, Petrochemical and plastics company, Chisso Corporation dumped 27 tons of methylmercury into Minamata Bay. At the same time, residents of Minamata relied heavily on the bay for their source of fish. However, little did they know that the fish was highly contaminated with mercury. The mercury laced fish caused severe neurological damage to babies born to mothers who ate the fish and killed more than 900 people in the town of Minamata.
3. The Bhopal Disaster (December 2, 1984)
Leakage of highly toxic, methyl isocyanate from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India has been described as one of the worst industrial accidents in history. It was estimated that 27 tons of toxic gas had leaked out of the plant in the middle of the night and into the densely population area of 900,000 people. People were waking up coughing and not being able to breathe. It is believed that at least 23,000 people were killed.
2. Chernobyl (April 26, 1986)
Radiation contamination resulted from the catastrophic nuclear explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. It has been named the worst nuclear power plant accident in history when it comes to total costs and deaths from the accident. It is believed that 985,000 people died due to the accident, mainly from cancer after being exposed to the high levels of radiation.
1. The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster (March 11, 2011)
After a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant lost its power supply and the ability to cool three reactors. This led to the ongoing concern of radioactive contamination. The disaster led to a mass evacuation of 160,000 people and the fear of cancer and other health issues due to radiation contamination.The accident has once again brought up the weaknesses within the design of nuclear power plants.
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