Dangers Of Development And Ecological Disasters
Global development has continued ever since man began living on earth. People seek to continuously improve their lives and in so doing, they often overlook the role of the environment in man’s existence. The industrial revolution has, for instance, been hailed as a major breakthrough in human effort to achieve greater success and prosperity. However, this did not occur without significant ecological destruction. Development continuously poses a threat to ecological well-being, as discussed in this paper.
Nuclear energy is largely meant to help in the production of more electricity, a key component in man’s efforts to achieve greater development such as establishment of more industries and powering of homes. However, nuclear energy has been a major cause of ecological disaster. One of the most renowned ecological disasters ever reported in modern history is the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine in 1986.
The Chernobyl accident involved a nuclear leak in which a large amount of radioactive material was released into the air. Apparently, the nuclear station was manned by incompetent personnel. A thick cloud formed above the site of the accident, and this was carried to other countries through wind dispersion. Large land masses were affected by the spill, in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, thus affecting over 2 million inhabitants in those areas. It is said that over 30,000 people died as a result of radioactive rays emanating from the nuclear plant. Hundreds of thousands had to be moved elsewhere, from the surrounding areas. Other health effects associated with the accident include increased infant mortality, higher number of cancer cases, malformations, tumors, and genetic transmission of such effects. Food and harvests were also contaminated. Another effect was the destruction of marine environment from radioactive waste. When resultant radioactive waste was dumped into the ocean, millions of species of organisms were wiped out thus causing an imbalance in marine ecology.
Human efforts to develop have also caused an even greater number of forest fires. Each year, millions of hectares of forest and jungles are destroyed by fires, and this can be blamed squarely on human activities. First, in areas where man lives close to forests, some people seek to encroach on forest land. They cut down trees and burn vegetation in an effort to get more land for agriculture, or to build industries. Additionally, high temperatures as well as dry droughts associated with human destruction of the environment, including cutting down of forests thus causing limited rainfall, precipitate the occurrence of forest fires. Such fires destroy thousands of species of birds and other wildlife found in forests.
Petroleum spills have also been cited in many cases as a leading cause of ecological destruction. Petroleum spills are among the leading causes of oceanic contamination. Oil companies at times transport petroleum products for use in development projects, without exercising necessary caution and as such, accidents do occur. Oil spills in oceans result in major ecological destruction as fish and other organisms found in oceans lack oxygen and suffocate whenever huge quantities of oil spill in rivers, seas and oceans. Petroleum products are used all over the world in various industries ranging from automobiles to factories. In this regard, human development and ecological destruction seem to go hand in hand.
In conclusion, human development results in major destruction of the ecology. As outlined in this paper, such occurrences as petroleum spills, nuclear accidents, and forest fires are associated with significant environmental damage. As the human race has a tendency to continuously progress, destruction of the environment and ecology is unlikely to stop.