Environmental disaster

Image of the surface of waste found inside double-shell tank 101-SY at the Hanford Site, April 1989

An environmental disaster is a disaster to the natural environment due to human activity,[1] which distinguishes it from the concept of a natural disaster. It is also distinct from intentional acts of war such as nuclear bombings.

In this case, the impact of humans' alteration of the ecosystem has led to widespread and/or long-lasting consequences.[2] It can include the deaths of animals (including humans) and plants, or severe disruption of human life, possibly requiring migration.[3]

Environmental disasters

Environmental disasters can have an effect on agriculture, biodiversity, the economy and human health. The causes include pollution, depletion of natural resources, industrial activity or agriculture.[4]

List of environmental disasters caused by humans

As of 2013, the Fukushima nuclear disaster site remains highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost tens of billions of dollars.[5][6]

Climate change and disaster risks

A 2013 report examined the relationship between disasters and poverty. It concludes that, without concerted action, there could be up to 325 million extremely poor people living in the 49 countries most exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes in 2030.[7]

See also

An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined[8]

Further reading


  1. Jared M. Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, 2005
  2. Illustrated overview of environmental disasters due to human activity, including deforestation, soil erosion and the biodiversity crisis.
  3. End-of-the-World Scenario: Environmental Disaster
  4. Environmental Disaster Videos on Gaiagonewild.com
  5. Richard Schiffman (12 March 2013). "Two years on, America hasn't learned lessons of Fukushima nuclear disaster". The Guardian.
  6. Martin Fackler (June 1, 2011). "Report Finds Japan Underestimated Tsunami Danger". New York Times.
  7. Andrew Shepherd, Tom Mitchell, Kirsty Lewis, Amanda Lenhardt, Lindsey Jones, Lucy Scott, Robert Muir-Wood, 2013; The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030; accessed 29/10/2013 http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/7491-geography-poverty-disasters-climate-change-2030
  8. Republic of Nauru. 1999. Climate Change – Response. First National Communication – 1999. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/27/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.