#1 BP Oil Spill
The BP oil spill refers to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that occurred in The Gulf of Mexico in 2011. It is one of the largest oil spills in the history of time, releasing over 210 million gallons of oil into the gulf. The cause of the spill was determined to be negligence and gross misconduct. The violation of safety regulations and carelessness of the company to ensure something like this couldn’t have happened lead to the losing of lives and destruction of the environment. To imagine how difficult an oil spill can be, imagine having a glass of water, spilling oil into it, and trying to get it out. A simple image but that pretty much sums up what rescuers and environmentalists had to do in order to protect the wildlife and people who lived in the surrounding area. We’re still seeing effects from this today and hopefully, oil companies have learned from this horrifying mistake.
#2 The Love Canal Toxic Waste Test
If you had a bunch of toxic chemical waste to get rid of, what might you do to dispose of it? if you’re Hooker Chemical company, a business responsible for making products such as perfume, dyes, and rubbers, you might decide to drain a canal and dump the waste into that. Years after the initial dump, they decided to sell the property they owned, bury the waste they had dumped, and allow the new buyers to build a school and residential houses right on top of all the chemical waste. It seemed like a perfect solution at first, until all the waste began to leak into people’s homes and water supplies! The chemical waste was full of carcinogens, chemicals known to cause cancer. About a third of the residents in the area showed a high amount of white blood cells with the potential to lead to leukemia.
#3 Minamata Disease
However, there have been man-made disasters that lead to man-made diseases that have affected large portions of the population. One disease is referred to as the Minamata disease. The causation of this particular disease was yet another chemical company that decided to dump their products into civilian’s water supplies. Mercury was one of the biggest chemicals that got into the fish and water, leading to many people in the area, specifically Japan’s island of Kyushu, to consume the mercury. This had devastating effects on whoever consumed the substance and also deeply impacted the unborn babies of expecting women. Over 2,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease, at least half of them losing their lives to the poisoning.
#4 Guiyu Waste Spill In China
Guiyu, China is where the phone, laptop, or tablet you’re reading this on will probably go to die. It is one of the largest locations of electronic waste in the world. In Guiyu, the streets, as well as the surrounding nature, are filled with old electronics, such as computers, televisions, gaming system, and any other electronic device you can imagine. It’s strange to think we specifically send certain types of garbage to other countries, but it’s been happening for years. The physical waste is shocking, but worse is the toxic waste released into the air and water that results from scavenging through these items. The locals will burn plastics and rubbers to get to copper wires. Sometimes mercury is released into the air when burning. Many people who visit the area but don’t live there experience a burning sensation on their skin and eyes because of all the toxins that sit in the area.
#5 Castle Bravo Explosion
Castle Bravo is the name given to the largest nuclear explosion the U.S. has ever seen. Intended to only be a test of a hydrogen bomb, the effects of the test caused many people on the surrounding islands to have to evacuate. The test took place on The Marshall Islands, and attempting to evacuate people from islands is surely not an easy task. Not to mention this only occurred 48 hours after the test, meaning the people were completely unaware that they were being exposed to radioactive waste caused by the bomb. Many island residents suffered radiation poisoning, and most who didn’t suffer immediate effects later began to grow tumors. It’s devastating to think that this was all just for a test, not even to cause anyone harm. However, it surely did, as well as show us the dangers these nuclear weapons can be. That never stopped our country from using them on more innocent civilians in the future.