Pollution disasters have the potential to harm millions of people at a time and are a threat to human health and the environment. Here is a look at some of the top pollution disasters and their detrimental impacts on society and the environment.

#1. Chernobyl nuclear accident

On April 26, 1986 the biggest radiation contamination ever recorded occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Russia. The plant’s core went into meltdown which killed 30 people and released radiation 100 times greater than the atom bombs dropped in World War II. Since the accident, thousands of cancer cases have resulted from residents living close to the accident. There is a 19-mile zone around the plant that remains uninhabitable.

#2 Minamata disease

In the early 50s, a chemical company in the small coastal city of Minamata in southern Japan released mercury into the sea in its manufacturing process. Because of Chisso Corporation’s mercury dumping, animals and humans alike began developing strange symptoms. Animals foamed at the mouth and threw themselves into the sea as a result of mercury poisoning. Many birds and fish also died without explanation. Humans also began developing symptoms including slurred speech and difficulty with motor skills. As a result, more than 2,000 deaths were reported along with birth defects, paralysis and other health conditions.

#3 Gulf of Mexico oil spill

On April 20, 2010 an oil rig located offshore in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and was one of the worst oil spills causing environmental damage in U.S. history. Approximately 5 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico over a three-month period, affecting hundreds of miles of shoreline and endangering wildlife and fish inhabiting those wetland areas. Local fishing and tourism suffered a devastating economic impact.

Pollution disasters will always have the potential to cause great harm to society and to the environment. The clean-up work of environmental contractors is essential in keeping our society safe. We can help your environmental contractor clients find the liability insurance coverage they need. Contact us for a consultation.