Saturday, June 5, 2010

World Environment Day (June 5th)

World Environment Day (June 5th)
Friends, information is more important and we need to be informed...thats the reason why I have opted to just depict what was given on MSN including the fotos....
Are we really taking care of ourselves...whom are we blaming for the environmental extremes we are increasingly experiencing?
Lets have a recap of what we have done to the Environment and Ecology.....

As we get ready to observe the World Environment day on 5 June, with the BP oil spill looming large in the background, here's a look at some of the greatest ecological disasters that could have been clearly avoided if we had been a bit more careful.

1. Chernobyl, Russia: Nuclear power plant explosion

A boy stands next to portraits of the victims of the accident at the Chernobyl power station

What has come to be acknowledged as the worst ever nuclear power plant accident in history, happened on the 26th of April in 1986 when a reactor at the Chernobyl plant, in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, had a meltdown and the resulting fire sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, drifting over large parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Northern Europe.
Four hundred times more radioactive material was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The people that have lived in the Chernobyl area during the accident suffer from various health problems. Immediately following the accident, hundreds of people were diagnosed with radiation sickness.
Particularly in Belarus, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of thyroid cancers (2.400%) and leukaemia (100%). Children of Chernobyl victims suffer from birth defects (250% increase), causing cancer and heart diseases. Approximately 64% of all Ukrainian children under 15 suffering from cancer lived in the most contaminated areas. Genetic defects often result in mutations causing missing limbs.
Estimates range from 60 - 200 years before the area can be used for any activity. Farming or any other type of agricultural industry would be dangerous and completely inappropriate for at least 200 years. As for the #4 reactor where the meltdown occurred, it is estimated that it will be 20,000 years before the real estate will be fully safe.
A Greenpeace report in 2006 estimated that the full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancer cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers.

2. Bhopal, India: The Union Carbide gas leak
The sun sets behind the Union Carbide Corp pesticide plant in Bhopal

On the night of December 2-3, 1984, a pesticide plant operated by the Union Carbide in Bhopal, released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people.
Estimates vary on the death toll. The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Other government agencies, however, estimate 15,000 deaths.
It is estimated that 20,000 have died since the accident from gas-related diseases. Another 100,000 to 200,000 people are estimated to have permanent disabilities. A research conducted by the BBC in 2004 pointed out that this pollution still causes people to fall ill, and ten more die every year.

3. Seveso, Italy: The dioxin crisis
The dioxin cloud polluted a densely populated area of 6 kms long and one km wide, immediately killing many animals.
An explosion around midday on July 10, 1976 occurred in a TCP (2,4,5-trichlorophenol) reactor in the ICMESA chemical company in Meda, Italy resulting in a toxic cloud with high concentrations of TCDD, a highly toxic form of dioxin being released into the atmosphere.
The media now mentions Seveso in line with major disasters such as Bhopal and Chernobyl, which have both become international symbols of industrially related disease.
The Seveso accident and the immediate reaction of authorities led to the introduction of European regulation for the prevention and control of heavy accidents involving toxic substances. This regulation is now known as the Seveso Directive.
4. Exxon Valdez oil spill

People attend a candlelight vigil in memory of the Exxon Valdez disaster
On March 24, 1989 the American oil tanker Exxon Valdez clashed with the Bligh Reef, causing a major oil leakage in the pristine waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound.
This 11 million gallon oil spill spread almost 500 miles polluting 1900 km of coastline. The oil spill killed approximately 250.000 sea birds, 2.800 sea otters, 250 bald eagles and possibly 22 killer whales. This despite the mobilization of more than 11,000 people and 1,000 boats as part of the cleanup.
Though the Exxon Valdez oil slick has been regarded as the largest man-made environmental disaster in US history, the Gulf of Mexico spill that began in April 2010 may eventually surpass it in severity.
5. The Love Canal chemical waste dump, USA

A danger sign stands amid a permanently fenced-off section of the area formerly known as the Love Canal
A seemingly regular neighbourhood, the only thing that distinguished Love Canal near the Niagara Falls, was the strange odours that often hung in the air and an unusual seepage noticed by inhabitants in their basements and yards. Children in the neighbourhood often fell ill. Love Canal families regularly experienced miscarriages and birth defects.
When Love Canal was researched it was discovered that the town was sitting over 21,000 tons of toxic industrial waste that had been buried underground in the 1940s and '50s by a local company.
The waste mainly consisted of pesticide residues and chemical weapons research refuse. The chemicals had entered homes, sewers and yards. More than 900 families were moved away from the location. Eventually President Carter provided funds to move all the families to a safer area.

6. The Three Mile Island, USA: The nuclear nightmare

The dormant cooling towers of the Unit 2 reactor of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant

On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor near Harrisburg partially melted down causing a near nuclear disaster. Fortunately about 18 billion curies of radiation that could have been released were held by the containment structure around the reactor.
But coming barely two weeks after the release of the Jane Fonda film The China Syndrome, the Three Mile Island incident became the natural outlet for fears about the nuclear-power industry.
Though it was uncertain uncertain how much radiation was exactly released, a few days after the accident had occurred all children and pregnant women were evacuated from an 8 km radius of Three Mile Island as a safety precaution.
Radiation from the Three Mile Island reactor has contributed to the premature deaths of some elderly people that lived in the region. Dairy farmers reported that many animals have died consequential to the accident and local residents have developed cancers. Some studies suggested that premature deaths and birth defects also resulted from the nuclear melt-down

7. The death of the Aral Sea, Kazakhstan

Cows walk in the desert which used to be the seabed of the Aral Sea

This was once among the four largest lakes of the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometres(as big as Ireland). The Aral Sea, however, has shrunk by 90% since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects.
What was once a vibrant, fish-stocked lake is now a massive desert that produces salt and sandstorms that kill plant life and have negative effects on human and animal health for hundreds of miles around. Scores of large boats sit tilted in the sand -- a tableau both sad and surreal.

8. Kuwaiti Oil fires, Gulf war
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the size of the spill, figures place it several times the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The Gulf War oil spill/ fires is regarded as the largest oil spill in history, resulting from the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. As the 1991 Persian Gulf War drew to a close, Hussein sent men to blow up Kuwaiti oil wells. Approximately 600 were set ablaze, and the fires -- literally towering infernos -- burned for seven months.
The oil spill, which began on January 23, 1991, caused considerable damage to wildlife in the Persian Gulf especially in areas surrounding Kuwait and Iraq. Estimates on the volume spilled usually range around 11 million barrels; the slick reached a maximum size of 6787 km² and was 5 inches thick in some areas.

9. Minimata Disease, Japan

Minamata disease, sometimes referred to as Chisso-Minamata disease, is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning.

Minamata disease was first discovered in Minamata city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 1956. It was caused by the release of methyl mercury in the industrial wastewater from the Chisso Corporation's chemical factory, which continued from 1932 to 1968. This highly toxic chemical bioaccumulated in shellfish and fish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea, which when eaten by the local populace resulted in mercury poisoning.
While cat, dog, pig and human deaths continued over more than 30 years, the government and company did little to prevent the pollution.
As of March 2001, 2,265 victims had been officially recognised and over 10,000 had received financial compensation from Chisso Corpo. By 2004, Chisso had paid $86 million in compensation, and in the same year was ordered to clean up its contamination.

10. The Great London smog

It is consdered the worst air pollution event in the history of the United Kingdom

The Great Smog or Big Smoke was a severe air pollution event that
affected London in December 1952. A period of cold weather combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted from Friday 5th to Tuesday the 9th December 1952,and then quickly dispersed after a change in the weather.
Although it caused major disruption due to the effect on visibility, and even penetrated indoor areas, it was not thought to be a significant event at the time. In the following weeks however, medical reports estimated that 4,000 had died prematurely and 100,000 more were made ill due to the smog's effects on the human respiratory tract. More recent research suggests that the number of fatalities was considerably higher at around 12,000.