There are 1,060 hazardous waste sites on the list of the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.A. They have recently added a further 10 toxic waste sites to the 527 contaminated properties which endanger life.
Toxic contamination however, is a world-wide issue and not restricted to any one country. Here are just a few of the worst man-made disasters.
Picher, Oklahoma, the most toxic place in the U.S.A. has less than 25 residents remaining. It was once the world’s richest lead and zinc mining field, housing 20,000 people. Acidic water, sinking streets and mountains of lead contaminated waste fill the area.
Fishing boats rust in a vast, contaminated desert wasteland, the Aral Sea, which was drained empty by Soviet irrigation.
Guiyu, China, is the world’s second-most polluted place on the planet. It is the largest e-waste village, where electronic trash is pulled apart by hand, to retrieve valuable parts and wires. Circuit boards are burned, cooked and soaked in acid to extract scraps of precious metals.
Twice the size of Texas, the Pacific Rubbish Vortex contains 3.5 million tons of rubbish, 90% of which is plastic debris, swirls between California and Hawaii.
Following gas drilling in Java, Indonesia, that created a’mud volcano’, which killed 13 people, hot sulfuric mud gushes continually from the ground. The steaming mud pool covers over 25sq k and is growing at an estimated 50,000 cubic meters per day. Scientists say the mud will continue erupting for another 30 years.
The Berkeley Pit Lake, a copper mine, is filled with more than 40 billion gallons of acidic water and heavy metals. It is a hazard to migrating birds.
Exploding in 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Station contaminated millions of square miles and released radioactive material into the air. The entire area is a radioactive freeze frame of the old USSR.
In 1984, the Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing plant leaked 32 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate, in Bhopal, India. Thousands died and thousands more were deformed, blinded, and disabled. More than 2,000 bodies were cremated in one day. The soil and water near the factory are toxic from the still leaking plant. There has been no clean-up.
Trying to clean up following nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, in the late 1970s, the U.S. government dug up 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive soil and deposited it on Runit Island, in a 350-foot wide crater left by the nuclear tests. An enormous, foot-and-a-half-thick, 100,000-square-foot dome made up of 358 gigantic concrete panels, was built over the site. The area is still radioactive.
A Soviet drilling rig accidentally caused the ground to cave in and the entire drilling rig to fall in, when it punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, in 1971. Poisonous fumes started leaking from the hole. The 328 ft. wide hole, in the Turkmenistan desert, has been continuously on fire, for 38 years, since the Russians set the hole aflame, in order to head off a potential deadly catastrophe.
Due to health concerns Australia’s Wittenoom, Pilbara, was officially closed down in 1966. It was once the area’s largest town in the asbestos mining area, but is now a toxic ghost town.
Centralia, Pennsylvania’s underground coal fire, ignited sometime in 1962. In 1981 a 12-year-old boy fell into a 150-foot hole that suddenly appeared in his back yard. In 1992 the entire town was condemned.
Decades of strip mining for phosphorus, Nauru is left with just a 150-meter-wide strip of fertile land along one of its shores. The mining has devastated over 80 % of Nauru’s land, leaving it a barren wasteland of jagged limestone pinnacles up to 49 ft. high.
Finally we have the Mexico Gulf oil spill, which is as yet unmeasurable.