Environmental disaster

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Image of the surface of waste found inside double-shell tank 101-SY at the Hanford Site, April 1989 Hanford site tank interior.jpg
Image of the surface of waste found inside double-shell tank 101-SY at the Hanford Site, April 1989
The theoretical "nuclear blowback" of detonating 100 or more nuclear weapons would drastically alter the Earth's climate for a prolonged period of time, causing an environmental disaster that would affect nearly every type of living organism on the planet. Detonation of a Thermo-Nuclear Device in the South Pacific.jpg
The theoretical "nuclear blowback" of detonating 100 or more nuclear weapons would drastically alter the Earth's climate for a prolonged period of time, causing an environmental disaster that would affect nearly every type of living organism on the planet.

An environmental disaster or ecological disaster is defined as a catastrophic event regarding the natural environment that is due to human activity. [1] This point distinguishes environmental disasters from other disturbances such as natural disasters and intentional acts of war such as nuclear bombings.

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Environmental disasters show how the impact of humans' alteration of the ecosystem has led to widespread and/or long-lasting consequences. [2] These disasters have included deaths of wildlife, humans and plants, or severe disruption of human life or health, possibly requiring migration. [3]

Environmental disasters

Environmental disasters historically have affected agriculture, biodiversity including wildlife, the economy and human health. The most common causes include pollution that seeps into groundwater or a body of water, emissions into the atmosphere and depletion of natural resources, industrial activity or agricultural practices. [4]

As of 2013, the Fukushima nuclear disaster site remains highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost tens of billions of dollars. Fukushima I by Digital Globe.jpg
As of 2013, the Fukushima nuclear disaster site remains highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost tens of billions of dollars.

Here you can find a list of well known environmental disasters:

Climate change and disaster risks

A 2013 report examined the relationship between disasters and poverty world-wide. It concludes that, without concerted action, there could be upwards of 325 million people living in the 49 countries most exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes in 2040. [7]

Mitigation Efforts

There have been many attempts throughout recent years to mitigate the impact of environmental disasters [8] . Environmental disaster is caused by human activity, so many believe that such disasters can be prevented or have their consequences curbed by human activity as well. Efforts to attempt mitigation are evident in cities such as Miami, Florida, in which houses along the coast are built a few feet off of the ground in order to decrease the damage caused by rising tides due to rising sea-levels [9] . Although mitigation efforts such as those found in Miami might be effective in the short-term, many environmental groups are concerned with whether or not mitigation provides long-term solutions to the consequences of environmental disaster [9] .

See also

An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined Nauru satellite.jpg
An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined

Related Research Articles

Hanford Site Decommissioned nuclear production complex in Washington, United States

The Hanford Site is a decommissioned nuclear production complex operated by the United States federal government on the Columbia River in Benton County in the U.S. state of Washington. The site has been known by many names, including Hanford Project, Hanford Works, Hanford Engineer Works and Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Oil spill Release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity

An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially the marine ecosystem, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually given to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also occur on land. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.

Radioactive contamination US safety regulations for nuclear power and weapons

Radioactive contamination, also called radiological contamination, is the deposition of, or presence of radioactive substances on surfaces or within solids, liquids or gases, where their presence is unintended or undesirable.

Anthropogenic hazard Hazard caused by human action or inaction

Anthropogenic hazards are hazards caused by human action or inaction. They are contrasted with natural hazards. Anthropogenic hazards may adversely affect humans, other organisms, biomes, and ecosystems. The frequency and severity of hazards are key elements in some risk analysis methodologies. Hazards may also be described in relation to the impact that they have. A hazard only exists if there is a pathway to exposure. As an example, the center of the earth consists of molten material at very high temperatures which would be a severe hazard if contact was made with the core. However, there is no feasible way of making contact with the core, therefore the center of the earth currently poses no hazard.

Downwinders were individuals and communities in the intermountain area between the Cascade and Rocky Mountain ranges primarily in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah but also in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho who were exposed to radioactive contamination or nuclear fallout from atmospheric or underground nuclear weapons testing, and nuclear accidents.

Nuclear safety and security

Nuclear safety is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as "The achievement of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers, the public and the environment from undue radiation hazards". The IAEA defines nuclear security as "The prevention and detection of and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities".

Lists of environmental topics Wikipedia list article

The natural environment commonly referred to simply as the environment, is all living and non-living things that occur naturally on Earth or some part of it. This includes complete ecological units that function as natural systems without massive human intervention, including all vegetation, animals, microorganisms, rocks, atmosphere and natural phenomena that occur within their boundaries. And it includes universal natural resources and physical phenomena that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water, and climate, as well as energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism, not originating from human activity.

Church Rock uranium mill spill Radioactive spill in New Mexico on July 16, 1979

The Church Rock uranium mill spill occurred in the U.S. state of New Mexico on July 16, 1979, when United Nuclear Corporation's tailings disposal pond at its uranium mill in Church Rock breached its dam. The accident remains the largest release of radioactive material in U.S. history, having released more radioactivity than the Three Mile Island accident four months earlier.

Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents Wikimedia list article

These are lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> oil spill Oil spill that began in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was an industrial disaster that began on 20 April 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8 to 31 percent larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I oil spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. federal government estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels. After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was declared sealed on 19 September 2010. Reports in early 2012 indicated that the well site was still leaking. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is regarded as one of the largest environmental disasters in American history.

The following is a timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. It was a result of the well blowout that began with the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion on April 20, 2010.

Energy accidents

Energy resources bring with them great social and economic promise, providing financial growth for communities and energy services for local economies. However, the infrastructure which delivers energy services can break down in an energy accident, sometimes causing considerable damage. Energy fatalities can occur, and with many systems deaths will happen often, even when the systems are working as intended.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to environmentalism, broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements. Environmentalism advocates the preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment, and may be referred to as a movement to control pollution.

This is a list of notable events relating to the environment in 2011. They relate to environmental law, conservation, environmentalism and environmental issues.

The Health consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are health effects related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. An oil discharge continued for 84 days, resulting in the largest oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, estimated at approximately 206 million gallons. The spill exposed thousands of area residents and cleanup workers to risks associated with oil fumes, particulate matter from controlled burns, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> oil spill response

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred between April 10 and September 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. A variety of techniques were used to address fundamental strategies for addressing the spilled oil, which were: to contain oil on the surface, dispersal, and removal. While most of the oil drilled off Louisiana is a lighter crude, the leaking oil was of a heavier blend which contained asphalt-like substances. According to Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for oil spills, this type of oil emulsifies well. Once it becomes emulsified, it no longer evaporates as quickly as regular oil, does not rinse off as easily, cannot be broken down by microbes as easily, and does not burn as well. "That type of mixture essentially removes all the best oil clean-up weapons", Overton said.

GuLF Study

The GuLF Study, or Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study, is a five-year research project examining the human-health consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. The spill followed an explosion on a drilling rig leased by BP, the British oil company, and led to the release of over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, 48 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the United States.

Nuclear labor issues Radiation workers health and labor issues

Nuclear labor issues exist within the international nuclear power industry and the nuclear weapons production sector worldwide, impacting upon the lives and health of laborers, itinerant workers and their families.

References

  1. booty buttJared M. Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed , 2005
  2. Illustrated overview of environmental disasters due to human activity Archived 2007-02-08 at the Wayback Machine , including deforestation, soil erosion and the biodiversity crisis.
  3. End-of-the-World Scenario:ecological Disaster
  4. Environmental Disaster Videos Archived 2007-12-03 at the Wayback Machine on Gaiagonewild.com
  5. Richard Schiffman (12 March 2013). "Two years on, America hasn't learned lessons of Fukushima nuclear disaster". The Guardian.
  6. Martin Fackler (June 1, 2011). "Report Finds Japan Underestimated Tsunami Danger". New York Times.
  7. Andrew Shepherd, Tom Mitchell, Kirsty Lewis, Amanda Lenhardt, Lindsey Jones, Lucy Scott, Robert Muir-Wood, 2013; The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030; accessed 29/10/2013 http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/7491-geography-poverty-disasters-climate-change-2030
  8. Murti, R. (2018, June 01). Environment and disasters. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from https://www.iucn.org/theme/ecosystem-management/our-work/environment-and-disasters
  9. 1 2 Ariza, M. A. (2020, September 29). As Miami keeps Building, rising SEAS DEEPEN its social divide. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-miami-keeps-building-rising-seas-deepen-its-social-divide
  10. Republic of Nauru. 1999. Climate Change – Response. First National Communication – 1999. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations

Further reading