Union Carbide Gas Leak at Bhopal
In 1984, a lethal gas leak at Bhopal killed 4,000 people. As many as 500,000 were inflicted with health problems like edema. Such health problems have reported killed 15,000 more people and more than 100,000 still suffer with chronic disease from gas exposure.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Explosion
This disaster began in 1986 due to human error. The explosion immediately killed 31 and although 135,000 people were evacuated the next day, it is estimated that there were 400,000 deaths were due to radiation exposure.
Seveso Dioxin Crisis
In 1976, this nuclear explosion gave an initial indication that it might mirror Chernobyl and Bhopal. However, authorities moved quickly to evacuate and treat those who injured. Seveso went a step further to compensate victims and to excavate and polluted areas and soils.
The 1952 London Smog Disaster
Smog containing dangerously high levels of sulphur dioxide from coal combustion and cold air hit London in December 1952 and lasted until March of the following year. The result was an acid rain that killed 12,000 people, mostly children and elderly.
Major Oil Spills of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Oil spills are often the result of tanker collisions that could have been avoided. These spills dump millions of crude oil into large bodies of water and create major damage. Some of the worst oil spills during the 20th and 21st centuries include Piper Alpha, Amoco Cadiz, Exxon Valdez, The Gulf War and Tricolor.
Love Canal Chemical Waste Dump
The Love Canal was originally a waste dump that was sold for a dollar to a developer who dug into chemically toxin landfill and developed it into a neighborhood. The result was a frighteningly high number of birth defects and illnesses. Love Canal remains one of the worst manmade disasters.
The Baia Mare Cyanide Spill
In Rumania, cyanide is used to distinguish gold from rocks. In 2000, the cyanide in a mine in Baia Mare spilled into the river Somes and onward to the rover Tisza. Although these were large bodies of water, they contained large concentrations of cyanide and metals like copper, lead and zinc. Rumanian authorities sounded an alarm and deaths were avoided.
The European BSE Crisis
This fatal cow disease can be spread to humans through consumption of the tainted meat. It is estimated that thousands of people around the world have died from eating the organs and tissues of said cattle.
Spanish Waste Water Spill
In 1998 river pollution occurred from a mine overspill of wastewater containing sludge and metals such as lead, zinc, copper and cadmium. Quick thinking authorities executed a major cleaning operation to remove the harmful contents.
Three Mile Island Near Nuclear Disaster
In 1979, a near nuclear meltdown happened when a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant failed. The structure around the reactor contained 18 billion curies of radiation and avoided many fatal disasters.
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