Revisiting Sites of Eco-Disaster

Stephanie Rogers revisits 7 of the greatest environmental disasters (including the 2008 TVA coal sludge spill) and finds that while they may have left the headlines, serious problems remain.

"When the peace of a community is shattered by man-made disaster – an oil spill, a toxic gas leak, a nuclear meltdown – a scar is left that may fade with passing decades but will never fully heal. While some may be able to clean up and return to a sense of normalcy, others stand fenced-off and unchanged like a silent memorial. Located around the globe, these seven catastrophic environmental disasters have had a profound effect upon the earth and local residents that continues today, as many as 50 years later.

[Disasters include]:

Love Canal Community Contamination ("In 2004, Love Canal was finally declared clean, though most of the neighborhood remains abandoned"); Three Mile Island Nuclear Meltdown ("Cleanup and decontamination of the Three Mile Island accident site cost $975 million and wasn't completed until 1993. Today, Three Mile Island is still in operation, though the generating station involved in the meltdown is no longer used."); Minamata Mercury Poisoning ("Over 2,265 victims have been officially certified by the Japanese government – 1,784 of whom have died – but over 17,000 people have applied for certification."); Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill ("But swaths of oil are still buried just beneath the surface of many beaches and many species affected by the spill are still struggling."); Bhopal Gas Leak ("Union Carbide – now owned by Dow Chemical Company – never cleaned up the contamination and the factory site continues to leak deadly chemicals into the air, soil and water."); TVA Coal Sludge Spill ("TVA estimated that it would have all 2.4 million cubic yards out of the area by 2013, but announced in March 2010 that a complete cleanup is 'technologically impossible.'"); Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster ("People are officially forbidden to live within the 17-mile "Exclusion Zone" around Chernobyl, and radiation levels in the area are still 10-100 times higher than normal "background levels" but several million people continue to live on contaminated land.").

Full Story: 7 Biggest Environmental Disasters -- Where Are They Now?



Funding Clean-ups Must Be Priority

This article highlights the important topic of toxic waste clean-up in this country. Environmental scientists working on clean-ups know all too well how underfunded toxic dump site clean-ups-including Superfund sites- are in this country.

As a consequence, tens of thousands of Americans continue to live with toxic dumps and related contaminated drinking water and soils in their communities.
Totally unacceptable. This certainly is also not good for planners.

Clean-up has to be prioritized by the present and future administrations.

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