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.
April 19, 2010, 10am PDT | Michael Dudley
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"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:
Published on Monday, April 19, 2010 in AlterNet
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email