25 Biggest Man Made Environmental Disasters In History

Our environment has been the victim of all sorts of attacks.  Some of these attacks are natural such as hurricanes and earthquakes.  However, there are attacks that are unnatural and man made such as wars, explosions, chemical spills, etc.  These attacks usually carry with them heavy price tags as property and lives are damaged beyond full compensation and repair. To see these effects first hand (or as close to first hand as possible) we present to you our 25 biggest environmental disasters in history list for your personal edification.

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TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Fly Ash Slurry Spill


It’s a pretty crazy name huh? It’s real though. In an 84 acre solid waste containment area, an ash dike ruptured in the early hours of December 22, 2008. This fossil plant in Roane County, Tennessee held 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry which was expelled causing a mudflow wave. Although there were no reported fatalities or injuries (thank goodness), it damaged several properties and government facilities.


The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill


On March 24, 1989, 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled in Prince William Sounds, Alaska by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez after it ran into Bligh Reef. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human caused environmental disasters with both the long-term and short-term effects of the oil spill having been studied. Immediate effects included the deaths of 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds, at least 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 Bald Eagles, and 22 Orcas, and an unknown number of salmon and herring.


Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch


Another example of the negative effects of human waste; the Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch  is a gyre of marine debris in the central North Pacific Ocean.  This patch which is characterized by high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris formed gradually as a result of the marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents.


Jilin Chemical Plant Explosions


The Jilin chemical plant explosions were a series of explosions which occurred on November 13, 2005 in the No.101 Petro chemical plant in Jilin City, Jilin Province, China. These explosions were responsible for the deaths of six workers and injured dozens causing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.  To add insult to injury, these explosions severely polluted the Songhua River with an estimated 100 tons of pollutants containing benzene and nitrobenzene whose exposure reduces white blood cell count and is linked to leukemia.


Castle Bravo


The code name Castle Bravo was given to the first United States test of a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb. The bomb was detonated on Bikini Atoll, Marshall Isalnds on March 1, 1954, as the first test of Operation Castle and was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States at that time. This test lead to the most significant accidental radiological contamination ever caused by the United States.

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