NANFA-- Worst Environmental Disasters, follow-up

D. Martin Moore (
Fri, 12 Oct 2001 16:42:43 -0500

<x-rich>Thanks to all who responded to my call for nominees. For those who don't
know, the Aral Sea in Central Asia (within the borders of the former USSR)
was once the 4th largest inland lake (in volume,and 2nd to Lake Superior in
area) in the world, and supported a huge fishery. In the 1960's its surface
area measured some 26,000 square miles, now less than 15,000 due to
extensive irrigation of its primary tributaries in order to support cotton
agriculture. As the Aral Sea shrank, its salinity increased until it is now
dead. Since the early 90's when the situation became widely known
recognized, little or nothing has been done to reverse the deterioration, and
to this very day the Aral Sea continues to evaporate away.

In doing some research, I thought that the Chernobyl disaster might have
had profoundly far-reaching environmental consequences. It appears that
the local ecosystems are recovering pretty well, but who knows what the
long-term genetic damage will be? As of yet I have not found a lot of
ecological info, but the following passage (see serves to illustrate the magnitude of the

"<bigger>Two explosions blew the top off the reactor building releasing
clouds of deadly radioactive material in the atmosphere for
over 10 days. The people of Chernobyl were exposed to
radioactivity 100 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. The
people of the world and Northern Europe were greeted with
clouds of radioactive material being blown northward through
the sky. Seventy percent of the radiation is estimated to have
fallen on Belarus and 10 years later babies are sill being born
with no arms, no eyes, or only stumps for limbs. It is estimated
that over 15 million people have been victimized by the disaster
in some way and that it will cost over 60 Billion dollars to make
these people healthy. More than 600,000 people were involved
with the cleanup many who are now dead or sick."

<smaller>Chris' nomination of the Colorado River was sufficiently intriguing to merit
further inquiry. Can you tell us more, Chris?


Jackson, MS
I remember how my great-uncle Jerry would sit on the porch
and whittle all day long. Once he whittled me a toy boat out
of a larger toy boat I had. It was almost as good as the first
one, except now it had bumpy whittle marks all over it. And
no paint, because he had whittled off the paint.

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