Undoubtedly, the human being has made enormous technological advances since the beginning of humanity. However, these advances often have negative impacts on the planet, and contribute to damaging it in ways that may prove irreversible.
Next, we present the biggest ecological disasters that the planet has suffered because of humans:
Chernobyl nuclear accident
On April 26, 1986, in Ukraine, a serious explosion occurred in the fourth reactor of the plant, expelling various toxic and radioactive materials that were estimated to be 500 times greater than those released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Millions of people suffered to varying degrees from its effects, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.
The Chernobyl accident was a combination of a bad design of the nuclear power plant, which also did not have a containment enclosure, together with the errors produced by its operators.
The lack of a “safety culture”, a consequence in turn of the lack of a democratic political and social regime in the Soviet Union, is at the root of the Chernobyl accident.
The accident at the Vladimir Ilich Lenin power plant is considered, along with that of Fukushima I in 2011, as the most serious on the International Nuclear Accident Scale (INES).
Pollution in the Niger Delta
It is the largest of the wetlands in Africa. It contains one of the largest concentrations of biodiversity on the planet, and its crops, its trees or its fish have been the traditional livelihood of its inhabitants.
Spills from the oil industry, as well as the environmental impact of the construction of dams, are contributing to the destruction of this natural wealth.
In 2008 and 2009, two huge oil spills in the fishing village of Bodo had catastrophic consequences. For weeks, thick black oil poured into rivers and streams, killing fish and depriving people of their livelihood.
Shell, the operator of the pipelines where the leak occurred, repeatedly downplayed the volume of oil spills, only offering the community US$4,000 in compensation.
With the help of Amnesty International, the Bodo community took legal action. Shell admitted that it had made false statements about the volume of the spillage and paid the community £55 million (approximately US$75 million) in compensation.
The oil company, which has admitted to being the cause of 1,693 oil spills since 2007, agreed to clean up some of the affected areas after a study carried out by the United Nations Environment Program in 2011. However, the investigation by Amnesty International and the CEHRD demonstrate that the cleaning has been insufficient and that the place continues to be contaminated.
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Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
The Deepwater Horizon oil platform, belonging to British Petroleum (BP), exploded on April 22, 2010 about 75 kilometers off the coast of Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico.
This uncontrolled release of gas and oil into the waters lasted for almost three months and filled the ocean with a sticky, black tide covering 149,000 square kilometers. In 2013, the coasts of Louisiana received that mass by twice the tons of the previous year.
The same thing happened in places farther away from Macondo, like Florida. And while many marine species died in record numbers, baby dolphins died at six times the normal rate.
It is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the industry. Eleven people lost their lives and an estimated 4.9 million barrels were spilled.
BP pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and various misdemeanors; she was forced to disburse 42,000 million dollars in a trust fund; for four years he had no contracts and worked on his safety and ethics practices under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency; while by 2015, when he was able to rejoin, he suffered thousands of losses, including millions of costs for the disaster.
At present, the dolphins are still in serious danger, many sick or with lung difficulties 55%with stress 43% or suffering from low weight between 25% Y 19%. Also the turtles, since the twenty% of the female parrots died due to the spill, as well as the birds, of which almost a million perished.
Nature continues to be damaged in the area, with complications to take its course, because it is estimated that “billions” of animals died or were injured by the oil.
Disappearance of the Aral Sea
Located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, it was the fourth largest lake in the world in the 1960s. Irrigation systems for cereal and cotton crops from that time caused that today its surface has been reduced by 90%.
It was engineers from the former Soviet Union (USSR) who began to generate its collapse, diverting the rivers that fed it to nourish the dry steppes of the area, for plantations focused on monoculture cotton.
Although it had its heyday in the 1960s, the original plan dates from the time of Stalin, who diverted the course of two rivers that feed the lake: the Amu Daria and the sir daria.
Climate change, which has made winters in the area drier, is also contributing to the environmental disaster. The Aral went from having 68,000 square kilometers to only 7,000.
Various ecosystems have been destroyed, and large areas of water and land have been contaminated by salt and different chemical products.
destruction of the amazon
Considered the “lungs of the planet” and one of the main biodiversity hotspots. 20% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in recent decades, due to the felling of trees and intensive agricultural and livestock practices.
An Amazon Watch report names 23 importing companies that have commercial or financial relationships with fined Brazilian exporters, including multinational giants of food and agricultural commodities Bunge, Cargill and ADM.
In April 2018, Ibama (Brazil’s environmental regulator) fined five of the country’s large agricultural merchants for buying 3,000 tons of soybeans and other grains from seized farms, which have destroyed native vegetation.
The cattle company Agropecuária Santa Barbara Xinguara (Agro SB) is at the top of Ibama’s list of the highest fines for illegal deforestation in the Amazon in 2017, with a total of 20 billion dollars.
Fines totaling $3.9 million for lack of environmental oversight on timber traded between 2017 and 2018 were also levied against Nordisk Timber Eireli, which the report says supplies a number of leading hardwood companies in Europe. and in the United States.
The report strongly points to BlackRock, the US global investment management company, as a key financier of the agricultural giants most involved in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. This company has more than 2.5 billion dollars in shares of these Brazilian companies.
The ecological damage is inestimable and the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) would be accelerating climate change.
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Chemical leak in Bhopal
It happened between December 2 and 3, 1984 when the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant suffered an accident that caused various gases and toxic chemicals to leak. It is estimated that between 3,000 and 4,000 people died and some 50,000 suffered from various diseases.
Union Carbide and the Indian government, which took over the representation of the victims, closed in 1989 an out-of-court settlement for which the company paid 470 million of dollars. The 93% of the 500,000 people who received compensation they obtained 327 euros.
The June 7th of 1999the Indian court that judged this disaster sentenced eight Union Carbide executives to only two years in prison and to pay 8,900 euro.
In November 2014, the Indian government announced the review of compensation to those affected and a new count of the victims. Indian authorities demand another $1.2 billion from Dow Chemical, which currently owns Union Carbide, while the victims ask for $8.1 billion.
Dioxin leak in Seveso
On July 10, 1976, an explosion at a pesticide manufacturing plant released a mass of TCDD (a class of dioxin) vapors into the nearby city of Seveso, Italy.
The Icmesa Chemical Company plant was owned by the Roche Group and was engaged in the manufacture of pesticides and pesticides.
The lesions were mainly skin, as well as damage to the environment (flora and fauna). There was also damage to agriculture, livestock, contaminated soil, construction, shops, etc.
In all, more than 300 million of Swiss francs has had to pay Roche as compensation to the Italian State for the accident. Only two Icmesa employees were sentenced to 1.5 and 2 years in prison for being responsible for the accident.
Some 37,000 people were exposed to the highest recorded levels of this substance, considered toxic and carcinogenic, and more than 80,000 animals were sacrificed to avoid contamination of the food chain.
At present, compensation is still being paid and the consequences have not completely disappeared.
Multiple environmental impacts on Lake Victoria
This lake, whose territory is divided between Kenya, Tanzania Y Ugandais the largest in Africa, located at the center of a perfect storm of environmental impacts such as chemical and waste pollution, overfishing, plague of invasive species, proliferation of algae that suffocate flora and fauna or reduction in the amount of its waters.
In the 1960s, English soldiers released 25 specimens of Nile perch, with the idea of catching some again.
What they didn’t take into account is that these fish are voracious predators.
so in just 30 years they had almost wiped out the native fauna, more than 250 species of fish including some endemic to the lake.
Biodiversity was also affected by that of the waters, Wagagai is one of the largest cutting companies in the world. Greenhouses like this one at Nkumba sprawl along the Ugandan shoreline, where they use fertilizers and pesticides.
They are suspected of contaminating soil and surface water, causing the proliferation of algae and plants such as the water hyacinth (an invasive species that has spread throughout the lake), reducing oxygen in the water, and immobilizing fish. boats that get trapped in its dense vegetation.
Until just over 10 years ago, it was…