Added on: 22nd Jun 2015
Considered one of the four major pollution diseases in the history of Japan,
Minamata is caused by severe mercury poisoning that attacks the
nervous system. In 1956, Chisso Corporation’s industrial wastewater
containing methylmercury was released into Minamata Bay and the
Shiranui Sea; 2,265 fatalities are recognized as a direct
consequence to this polluting even.
THE SEVESO DISASTER
In July of 1976, an explosion at a chemical manufacturing plant north of
Milan, Italy released Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) into the
atmosphere adversely affecting the nearby town of Seveso. Shortly
thereafter 3,300 animals died and many more were put down in order to
prevent the spread of contamination into the food chain. Children were
hospitalized with skin inflammation and nearly 500 people were found
to have skin lesions.
E-WASTE IN GUIYU, CHINA
Guiyu, China is the location of what may be the largest electronic waste
(e-waste) site on earth. As a result 88% of the children in the area suffer
from lead poisoning and there is more than the average rate of miscarriages.
Consequently, the province is sadly referred to as the “electronic graveyard”.
BAIA MARE CYANIDE SPILL
After the Chernobyl incident in Russia, this cyanide spill in Baia Mare,
Romania is aptly called the worst environmental disaster in Europe.
On January 30, 2000, 100,000 cubic meters of cyanide-contaminated
water leaked out from a dam, spewing out 100 tonnes of cyanide.
An incredible amount of fish and aquatic plants were killed and up to
100 people were hospitalized after eating contaminated fish.
THE SHRINKING OF THE ARAL SEA
Dubbed as “one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters”, 10% of Aral
sea’s 68,000 square kilometres has disappeared due to the diversion of rivers
for irrigation. That percentage that was once a part of the fourth largest
inland body of water is now a plain of highly saline soil with depleting marine life.
THE BHOPAL DISASTER
Known as the world’s worst industrial disaster, more than half a million
people were exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other toxic
chemicals in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on the night of December 2-3,
1984. The Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant’s leak of the
poisonous gas claimed 2,259 casualties.
THE CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR EXPLOSION
Being one out of two accidents classified as level 7 on the International
Nuclear Event Scale, Chernobyl is known as the worst nuclear power
plant incident in history. Cancers, deformities and other long term
illnesses were the scars of not only human inhabitants but
of animals as well.
THE GREAT SMOG OF ’52
Thousands died and a hundred thousand fell ill because of a blanket of
smog that covered London for 5 days in 1952. Cold weather, combined
with windless conditions collected airborne pollutants from the use of coal
to form a thick layer of smog over the city. Recent research showed that
12,000 premature deaths can be attributed to this smog.