Science and engineering has progressed at a phenomenal rate over recent decades. However, even with increasingly sophisticated technology and systems at their disposal, people still sometimes get things wrong, and manmade environmental disasters are testament to the devastating impact that these mistakes can have. Here are a few of the worst such disasters to have taken place.
We live in a world dominated by oil, and this precious natural resource has be to extracted from wells beneath the ground or sea bed before being transported around the globe. Occasionally, accidents happen during this process. Fortunately, organisations now have access to spill control technology thanks to specialists providers such as www.lubetech.co.uk/.
This emergency technology has proved extremely useful over recent years, and one of the reasons for this was the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This was the largest marine oil spill in history and it was triggered by an explosion at the rig, which is based in the Gulf of Mexico. On 20 April, a surge of natural gas breached a concrete core and travelled up to rig’s riser platform, where it ignited. A total of 11 workers were killed and 17 were injured. Meanwhile, oil subsequently began to leak into the gulf. It is thought that the flow peaked at the equivalent of 60,000 barrels a day. The spill was not contained for 87 days, and the environmental damage was extensive.
Another major manmade disaster was the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in 1986. The worst event of its kind in history, it resulted in a nuclear meltdown at the Ukrainian plant that sent vast amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. As well as affecting the local area, this radiation drifted westward over the then Soviet Union and towards Europe. Since the accident, thousands of children have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Meanwhile, a 20-mile area around the plant remains out of bounds to this day.
In December 1984 in Bhopal, India, an accident at the Union Carbide pesticide facility caused a huge gas leak. Approximately 45 tonnes of poisonous methyl isocyanate escaped from the plant. Thousands of people in the nearby area died within hours and more lost their lives over the following months. In total, over half a million people were exposed to the gas. Many of those who survived suffered organ failure, blindness and other medical problems. Meanwhile, since the event, a large number of children in the area have been born with disabilities. In 1989, Union Carbide paid out around half a billion dollars in compensation to victims.
Unfortunately, this is just a small selection of the major manmade disasters that have occurred over recent decades.