The purpose of this report is to find out of three environmental disasters, which one was the most devastating to humans and the environment. This report is intended to be read by the United Nations to help make an important decision regarding what pollution event should be classified as the world’s most devastating. Key terms essential to an understanding of this report have been defined as follows: * TORCH – The Other Chernobyl Report
* Methyl Isocyanate – A toxic chemical used in the manufacture of some pesticides Research for this report was conducted using information obtained from the following sources: * The internet
* Information provided in class Research conducted shows that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in Ukraine, which occurred on the 26th of April 1986, continues to be the most devastating environmental disaster. It was the most devastating because out of the disasters chosen this had the most deaths and effects on the environment, continuing today.It caused the most deaths both immediate and cancer related. It spread across vast parts of the western Soviet Union and Europe. It caused hundreds of thousands of people to be relocated from their homes in severely contaminated areas.
1 This human caused pollution event was unable to be contained, being in the atmosphere and spread over vast distances. After 26 years the area around the site is still a severe health hazard.2The World Health Organization estimates the immediate death toll at 4,000. Estimates for premature cancer deaths caused by the accident vary.
The TORCH Report written by over a hundred experts from the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy agency, United Nations Developmental Program, other UN bodies, also government officials from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine estimates a massive 300 000 – 600 000 deaths.3 Greenpeace reports 200 000 deaths.4 According to the World Health Organization radiation doses to the cleanup workers in one year was 100 000 times the background radiation for 20 years.2 According to the TORCH Report Studies of Hiroshima nuclear bombs victims suggests that after being exposed to radiation you are at risk of thyroid cancer for the rest of your life, different to another estimate of 40 years.
3The World Health Organization, Greenpeace and the torch report show evidence that confirms that this human caused pollution event continues to cause suffering and death and makes it the most devastating pollution event in our world.These continued health threats of the Chernobyl disaster make it the most devastating pollution event compared to others such as the Union Carbide pesticide plant toxic gas leak in Bhopal, India, which had a greater immediate death toll, but not as much in the long term. On December 2nd 1984 at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India a gas leak of the highly toxic Methyl isocyanate (MIC).
It was devastating because it caused many unpleasant deaths and polluted the atmosphere. The leak was caused by poor maintenance, negligence at the plant and it is possible the plant was sabotaged. 5The leak caused immediate death and death by gas related diseases Tens of thousands of people were treated for injuries regarding inhaling of the gas, many others trampled trying to escape.
Thousands of animals were killed and food supplies were affected. According to studies there is no ongoing contamination to the surrounding environment. 5According to the Madhya Pradesh government the immediate death toll was 2 259 and a total of 3 787 confirmed deaths that were related to the gas release but according to recent estimates shown in a CBS news report, up to 25 000 deaths have been attributed to the accident.
6 According to the government there were 558 125 injuries caused by the accident. A report by Arthur D Little consulting firm concluded that a single employee sabotaged the plant deliberately by introducing large amounts of water to the tank.7The Madhya Pradesh Government has shown that this human caused pollution event caused much death, injury and suffering among individuals living in the area of the disaster and their families, it also killed many animals.
8This pollution event was severely devastating to humans, unlike the Exxon Valdez oil spill that affected a huge area of coastline and was very destructive to the animal population and to the food chain. On the 24th of March 1989 when the Exxon Valdese oil tanker ran aground on the Bligh reef at Prince William Sound, Alaska. It spilled tens of thousands of kilolitres of crude oil into the ocean, causing catastrophic fishing in to animal life, especially the marine populations that the fishermen in the area relied on for their livelihood. Thousands of kilometres of coastline were affected.
The reason that the Exxon Valdez oil spill is the third most devastating pollution event is because it did not have a profound effect on human health, but it still deserves it’s place because of its harsh effect on the environment and it’s wildlife, it reduced tourism, also recreational and professional fishing.According to studies by the state of Alaska the spill had both short and long term economic effects. Including the loss of tourism and fishing both recreational and professional.9 Riki Ott an activist from Cordova estimates the amount of o spilt at around 115 000 kilolitres 10.
It is estimated that up to 250 000 sea birds over 2 800 sea otters 12 river otters 300 harbor seals 247 bald eagles and 22 orcas were killed along with the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs.11Evidence from the state of Alaska shows that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was the third most devastating environmental disasters out of the three chosen because of there was no human deaths.
When it is taken into account the devastating effects to the environment, along with the loss of life and human suffering I would have to place the Chernobyl catastrophe as the most devastating environmental disaster.Results of the investigation into the most devastating pollution event reveal that the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in April 1986 was the most devastating environmental disaster out of the 3 events chosen because of the initial and continued loss of life and the impact that it had on the environment.
The Decision Making Matrix below shows the short term and long term impacts of each of the pollution events. It has been used to determine a conclusion that the Chernobyl disaster had the highest long term effects on humans and the environment.
| SHORT TERM EFFECTS ON HUMANS| SHORT TERM EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT| LONG TERM EFFECTS ON HUMANS| LONG TERM EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT| Chernobyl Nuclear Plant| 9| 8| 9.25| 9|Bhopal Gas Leak| 9| 7| 8| 5|Exxon Valdez Oil Spill| 3| 10| 2| 5|
It is recommended that the United Nations classify the Chernobyl tragedy as the world’s most devastating environmental pollution event.
Reference Organiser: e-Sources SourceNumber| Author/s (Surname then first name or initial)| Year of
Publication| Title of the article on the website (in italics)| Date Viewed| URL| 1| UNICEF| January 2002| The Human Consequences of the ChernobylNuclear Accident| 11/03| http://www.unicef.org/newsline/chernobylreport.pdf| 2| WHO| April 2006| Health effects of the Chernobyl accident: an overview| 10/3| http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs303/en/index.html| 3|
Various UN agencies, summarised by Ian Fairlie, David Sumner, Angelina Nyagu.| 2006| TORCH Report| 11/03| Chernobylreport.org/?p=summary| 4| Charles Hawley| April 2006| Greenpeace vs. the United Nations| 11/03| http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,411864,00.html| 5| Kalelkar AS| 1998| Investigation of Large-magnitude incidents: Bhopal as a Case Study| 11/03| bhopal.bard.edu/resources/documents/1988ArthurD.Littlereport.pdf| 6| Nirmala George| August 2009| U.S.
Exec Arrest Sought in Bhopal Disaster| 11/03| http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/31/world/main5201155.shtml| 7| Ingrid Eckerman| 2001| Chemical Industry and Public Health—Bhopal as an example| 11/03| www.lakareformiljon.org/images/stories/dokument/2009/bhopal_gas_disaster.pdf| 8| Government of Madhya Pradesh| -| BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY RELIEF AND REHABILITATION| 11/03| http://www.mp.gov.in/bgtrrdmp/relief.htm| 9| Riki Ott| May 2010| Lessons from the Exxon Valdez spill| 6/3/| http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/05/02/lessons-from-the-exxon-valdez-spill/| 9| Riki Ott| June 2010|
How Much Oil Really Spilled From the Exxon Valdez?| 11/03| http://www.onthemedia.org/2010/jun/18/how-much-oil-really-spilled-from-the-exxon-valdez/transcript/| 10| Richard Carson| December 1992| A Preliminary Economic Analysis of Recreational Fishing Losses Related to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill| 11/03| www.evostc.state.ak.us/Universal/Documents/Publications/Economic/Econ_Fishing.pdf| 11| ELIZABETH BLUEMINK| June 2010| Size of Exxon spill remains disputed| 11/03| http://www.adn.com/2010/06/05/1309722/size-of-exxon-spill-remains-disputed.html|