Environmental disasters: it is often said, speaking, of so many tragic situations and which we certainly would have gladly avoided witnessing, but technically with this expression we mean those phenomena that have a vast impact on the environment, of natural origin or not, and that are catastrophic due to the number of living organisms involved, the severity of the effects on them and the vastness of the territory concerned. There are also so many near-miss environmental disasters that we cannot remain silent, at least for the potentially catastrophic risks.
Man-made environmental disasters
In general i environmental disasters they can be caused or derive from an action performed by a particular animal species. Without turning around too much, we can clearly say, given in hand, that man is often the animal species mentioned above, as well as being the victim of what he causes. He, and the territory in which he lives. We have numerous case examples ofenvironmental crimes
In history, and still today, it is not common that i environmental disasters are caused by animals other than us. If this happens, it is about non-native breeds that, artificially introduced, destroy a certain habitat that had previously been created and had its balance. Before their arrival.
THE environmental disasters they are a different phenomenon from natural calamities which are characterized as completely natural events. What happens, however, because the world is not made up of watertight compartments, is that the negative effects of certain catastrophes for which man is not to blame, are amplified by acts or situations created by man. Said thus it seems a rare and difficult mechanism, instead there are examples under our eyes, even banal ones.
Let's take a storm - natural disaster for which we are not to blame. If it hits a hilly area that we humans have seen fit to deprive of all trees - deforestation - here is where a devastating landslide can occur. It starts as a calamity, rain from the sky, and ends up being one of the many natural disasters we have on our consciousness.
World famous environmental disasters
There are natural disasters of various kinds, for example chemical, linked to hydrocarbons, fires, nuclear. Among the most famous we find the one that took place on December 3, 1984 in Bhopal, India, when a pesticide leak from a Union Carbide factory caused an estimated 4,000 deaths. On that occasion a real "deadly fog" invaded a large area whose inhabitants have suffered serious consequences: over 50,000 have reported very serious damage such as blindness, kidney failure and permanent illness.
One can not fail to mention that the outbreak of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor of April 26, 1986 when the attempt to test a new theory led to the propagation of radiation in quantities 400 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. The most affected countries were Belarus and Ukraine but the toxic cloud even reached Ireland, the death toll was 56 but there were also over 4,000 cases of cancer and numerous other indirect damage to man and the environment.
For Italians, rather well known among the environmental disasters it is also that of 10 July 1976 a Seveso, in Brianza. A cloud of tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin (TCDD) at that time was released from a pesticide factory and around 37,000 people were exposed to the highest ever recorded levels of dioxin. For the same reason 80,000 animals have been slaughtered and the territory has not yet forgotten what is one of the most recent environmental disasters in northern Italy that is still “under study”.
Less known but peculiar as environmental disasters, that of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a very high-intensity marine vortex capable of attracting waste and garbage, still floating in the Pacific between Japan and Hawaii, and that of the Mississippi Dead Zone. It is a sort of - literally - dead zone, located at the foot of the river of the same name in which the ecosystem is compromised due to the "exaggerated" discharges released into the water.
Environmental disasters caused by oil
Among the most recent environmental disasters caused by oil around the world we find that of the oil platform Deepwater Horizon: in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, between April 20 and July 15, 2010 it spilled from 414 thousand tons of crude oil to over one million. A quantity yet to be estimated but certainly inadmissible.
The oil disaster at the Jiyeh Lebanon power plant was also terrible, between 14 and 15 July 2006 with a budget of between 20 and 30 thousand tons of crude oil. In January 2001 another of these environmental disasters hit the Galapagos Islands, not even a year earlier, South Africa, in Cape Town: we are in June 2000 and 1,400 tons of crude oil.
Going back in time but staying in the category of environmental disasters caused by oil, I remember the Exxon Valdez accident. This oil on March 24, 1989 ran aground on Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef, pouring 40.9 million liters of crude oil on the Asian coast next to Alaska. It left terrible consequences but “at least” it went down in the history of environmental disasters as a turning point. Let's not exaggerate, let's define it as a point of "positive inclination": after all that spilled crude oil, the maritime transport regulations have been changed which made the'Adoption of a new technology, much safer, double-hulled.
Recent environmental disasters
Of recent natural disasters there are both in Italy and in the rest of the world and we will most likely realize that we do not even know them all. And let's not blame them, they often don't find space and visibility, sometimes they get used to it, others being the fault of man, and I hide the consequences like dust under the carpet. Or corpses in the closet. But sometimes, as happens in the environmental disasters, the corpses are far too many.
In the very recent 2015 in the United StatesIn Colorado, 11 million liters of mud contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic and lead from an abandoned mine accidentally spilled into the Animas River. Remaining current, in Italy we land in Veneto: it is 2012 when huge quantities of highly toxic foundry slag disposed of illegally under the route of the A31 motorway between Vicenza and Rovigo, still under construction at the time.
The toll of 60 deaths for one of the most recent environmental disasters is that of the explosion due to a methane gas leak in 2010 in the Raspadskaya mine, in the Siberian region of Kemerovo. It is still on everyone's lips, because it is very recent, but also more widely followed among the environmental disasters, that of 2011 in Japan. I refer to what happened to Fukushima where four serious accidents occurred in the nuclear power plant namesake after the earthquake of 11 March 2011 which was also followed by a tsunami.
Environmental disasters: law
The most recent law that touches on the theme of environmental disasters in Italy it was approved on May 19, 2015 by the Italian Senate and generally concerns crimes against the environment, known for having transformed some crimes against the environment from "simple offenses" to crimes included in the Italian penal code.
The same law meant that the statute of limitations doubled and the sentences even reached 20 years in prison. Regarding i environmental disasters from that approval we see what has changed. First of all their definition. "Certain events" tragic must be considered in their own right environmental disasters if they cause "the irreversible alteration of the equilibrium of an ecosystem, the alteration of the equilibrium of an ecosystem whose elimination is particularly onerous and achievable only with exceptional measures, the offense to public safety due to the importance of the fact for the 'extension of the compromise or its harmful effects or the number of people injured or exposed to danger ».
The penalties range from 5 to 15 years, but not only: when i environmental disasters are committed in a protected or restricted area, or cause damage to protected animal or plant species, then there is also an aggravating circumstance. Another novelty of last year's law (2015) that I like to remember is theintroduction of 5 new crimes: environmental pollution, environmental disaster, the impediment of controls, failure to remediate and the traffic of radioactive material. Finally they are "Crimes", official.
Environmental disasters in Italy: the book
To get an idea of the current situation of our territory and how much it has experienced in history, there is an interesting one volume published by Il Mulino and written by Gabriella Corona. Is titled "Brief history of the environment in Italy”And tells about the transformations our peninsula has undergone at an environmental level. Inevitable, dutiful, and well done by the author, connect this environmental story with everything that has also changed in the economic, political and social spheres.
Only in this way, as can be read in this book, is it possible to make a picture of reality that has a meaning and can suggest how act in the future. In the various chapters we find Italy in recent decades, the scene of a strong acceleration of hydrogeological instability and land consumption.
We have before our eyes, even when reading, the worsening of the quality of life in metropolitan areas, the advancing concrete, the disappearance of green areas, the emergencies related to waste such as in the city of Naples - but unfortunately it is not the only one, only the most "shouted". They should not be forgotten, and fortunately Corona does not, even themarine and air pollution and the emergence of new pathologies affecting plants, humans and other animals, first, second or even third.
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