Woes, suspicion, hatred, coldness and brutality are the hallmarks that usually emanate from disasters. Life gets transformed beyond boundaries. Disasters leave their imprints which cannot be wiped away for long, at times the whole lifetime. Disasters are usually of two types: Natural and Man made. Not much can be done about natural disasters but man made disasters can be controlled by us to a large extent. Unnecessary hatred should not be nurtured and necessary precautions must be taken to save mankind from perishing. Here, I present to you
10 most severe man made disasters of all times!
10. London’s Killer Fog
Questioning technology and progress was commonplace in the year 1952 when Britain’s capital was inching closer towards its death due to the great smog that smothered London in its blanket and paralyzed the whole city. With the advent of industrialization, smog was nothing new for the city but “this” was completely different. Coal fireworks combined with sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides left the city choking and craving for sunlight. Transportation was crippled and greasy, black soot filled the air. Theaters were closed, businesses affected, people were unable to walk on the road. The city seemed hazy and wreaked of a musty, suffocating smell. According to government records, the smog claimed as many as 12,000 lives. In the wake of this disaster, the British Government passed The Clean Air Act of 1956. The act restricted burning of coal and encouraged switching to other forms of energy.
9. The Kuwait Oil Fires
This decision of Saddam Hussein is still highly ‘contested’ by one and all across the world. He knew the war was over but he could not tolerate somebody else benefiting from the riches that he had nurtured and maintained. As the Persian Gulf War of 1991 was about to come to a close, Saddam Hussein took a devastating decision that took a plethora of lives. Many animals died at the moment and a few others’ lungs were overburdened with the mist and the smoke. This resulted in choking. Approximately 700 oil wells were set ablaze. Seas of oil were created with fire running like water eating away all that came in its way.
8. The Three Mile Island Nuclear Explosion
You can find its mention in your school level science textbooks! Perhaps, this explosion might be the first example of the drawbacks associated with nuclear energy given to you by your teacher. In Harrisburg, PA on March 28, 1979, the nuclear reactor exploded due to a core meltdown. Thanks to a well maintained containment system in place, much damage was not caused. However, this explosion infused fear and rationale among many countries regarding nuclear power plants and nuclear energy as a whole. It was a lesson for mankind or, as some say it proved to be an early warning.
7. The Nuclear Power Plant Explosion in Chernobyl, Russia
The future of energy is nuclear; this is actually a one liner meant to promote this multimillion dollar industry. This might sound logical considering that energy shortages are affecting millions of people, both in the developing and the developed world. The reality is different. The graph of nuclear power generation is headed downward. The turning point for the nuclear power industry was the nuclear power plant explosion in Chernobyl, Russia which occurred in the year 1986 and triggered a plethora of controls, rigorous licensing systems and a complete rethink about the way the world looks at nuclear energy. Against this web of nuclear energy related issues, the leak of nuclear radiations affecting countless children with birth defects and cancer raised serious questions on safety. In addition to this, the environment was affected so much that the land was not deemed fit for any activity up to 200 years.
6. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
No “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” in world history have wreaked such havoc except in the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than 92 per cent of the cities were consumed in flames. The atomic bombs were dropped by the U.S. at locations which were highly populated so that maximum damage is caused compelling Japan to surrender as soon as possible. After the twin bombings, Japan surrendered. More than 80, 000 lives were claimed. However, multitudes of people died in the aftermath of the bombings because of several diseases caused by the harmful nuclear radiations. Till today, Japanese environment, land and people are bearing the brunt of such heavy exposure to nuclear radiations.
5. 26/11 or Black Friday
The 2008 Mumbai Attacks were destructive to their core. Twelve well coordinated and pre planned attacks were carried out in the city of Mumbai in India by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan based militant organization. More than 400 lives were taken and many more casualties were reported. All terrorists were shot dead by NSG commandos except Kasab. Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist survivor of the attacks accepted that the terrorist attacks were carried out with the aid of Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency, ISI. Kasab was hanged in Pune’s Yerwada Jail after proper trial in the year 2012.
4. Boston Bombings
Participation in a well spirited marathon charred 5 people to death in the city of Boston, Massachusetts on April 15, 2013. Self radicalized brothers had a hand in these bombings wherein 280 innocent people were injured. The masterminds behind the blasts were soon caught and interrogated. Motivated by extremist Islamist beliefs and frustrated by US’s policy on Iraq and Afghanistan and other Muslim nations, Tsarnaev brothers decided to explode a bomb during the Boston Marathon.
3. September 11th
Termed as the most “horrific” attacks in world history, the 9/11 attacks are still fresh in the human psyche. Four passenger airplanes were hijacked by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists and flown into important American towers. The destruction of the twin towers of World Trade Center Complex in New York City sent a rush of fear and frenzy down the citizens’ spines. More than 3,000 people died in the attacks and many more were injured. However, there was one more indelible impact that these terrorist attacks left on the face of the world. Friends became foes and suspicion, hostility and fear became the hallmarks of a deeply traumatized America. Citizens from other countries were brutally tortured, especially the Muslim community. 9/11 created an unbridgeable chasm between the developed world and the developing world. Till now, nobody has been able to recover from these attacks completely.
2. Bhopal Gas Tragedy
Have you ever imagined waking up in the middle of the night with tormenting ache in your body and your sense organs burning? Your lungs filled with polluted gases unable to breathe. Your diaphragm unable to move and your trachea choked! Yes, this happened in one of the worst industrial disasters of the world. A gas leak in the Union Carbide industry in Bhopal caused enormous agony to the neighboring villagers. Poisonous gases occupied empty spaces within their bodies taking them to nowhere, but death. Many died in their sleep. Over 5, 00,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanide gas. Government records have published 16,000 deaths but in reality the figures were drastic. There were others who suffered from blindness and other organ failures and still continue to suffer.
1. Global Warming
Neglected, overlooked and ignored; this anthropogenic disaster is slowly settling itself down on our planet and is seeping into our lives controlling a major chunk of it. Excessive amounts of greenhouse gases are responsible for it. This rapidly increasing disaster is threatening the very existence of humanity and therefore it deserves to be looked after. Global warming has resulted in glacial melt down, rise in sea level, increased UV exposure, Ozone hole, desertification, etc. Scientists are constantly warning of dire consequences. In the wake of global warming, many animal, bird and plant species have become extinct. Is man the next? If proper measures are not taken to solve this solemn issue, it will burn the biological library even before we have cataloged all the titles of the books.