Girish Mahajan (Editor)

List of environmental disasters

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
List of environmental disasters

This page is a list of environmental disasters. In this context it is an annotated list of specific events caused by human activity that results in a negative effect on the environment.



  • Mismanagement and shrinking of the Aral Sea
  • Salinity in Australia
  • Salinization of the Fertile Crescent
  • The Dust Bowl in Canada and the United States (1934–1939)
  • The Great sparrow campaign; sparrows were eliminated from Chinese farms, which caused locusts to swarm the farms and contributed to a famine which killed 38 million people.
  • Africanized bees, known colloquially as "killer bees"
  • "Dirty dairying" in New Zealand
  • Biodiversity

  • Chestnut blight
  • Extinction of American megafauna
  • Extinction of Australian megafauna
  • Deforestation of Easter Island
  • Destruction of the old growth forests
  • Rabbits in Australia
  • Red imported fire ants
  • Dutch Elm Disease
  • Devil facial tumour disease
  • Reduction in the number of the American Bison
  • Introduction of the Nile perch into Lake Victoria in Africa, decimating indigenous fish species
  • The Saemangeum Seawall
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Environmental threats to the Great Barrier Reef
  • 2006 Zakouma elephant slaughter
  • Invasive species in New Zealand
  • The loss of Biodiversity of New Zealand
  • Ghost nets
  • Grounding of SS Makambo on Lord Howe Island
  • Shark finning
  • Decline of vultures in India due to Diclofenac leading to increased incidence of rabies
  • Extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger
  • Human health

  • Introduction of the Bubonic Plague (the Plague of Justinian) in Europe from Africa in the 7th century resulting in the death of up to 60% (100 million) of the population.
  • Introduction of the Bubonic Plague (the Black Death) in Europe from Central Asia in the 14th century resulting in the death of up to 60% (200 million) of the population and recurring until the 18th century.
  • Introduction of infectious diseases by Europeans causing the death of indigenous people during European colonization of the Americas
  • Health effects arising from the September 11 attacks
  • Goiânia accident, human deaths resulting from dismantling a scrapped medical machine containing a source of radioactivity
  • Industrial

    Coordinates of the Industrial Environmental Disasters found on this page, shown in Google. Complete with the Wikipedia descriptions listed below built into each location.

  • Spring Valley, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. which was used as a chemical weapons testing ground during World War I.
  • Minamata disease - mercury poisoning in Japan (1950s & 1960s)
  • Ontario Minamata disease in Canada
  • Itai-itai disease, due to cadmium poisoning in Japan
  • Love Canal toxic waste site
  • Seveso disaster (1976), chemical plant explosion, caused highest known exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in residential populations
  • Times Beach, Missouri (1983) the town was completely evacuated due to a dioxin contamination
  • Bhopal disaster (December 3, 1984, India), leak of methyl isocyanate that took place in 1984 resulted in more than 22,000 deaths.
  • Sandoz chemical spill into the Rhine river (1986)
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites in the United States
  • AZF Explosion at a Toulouse chemical factory (2001)
  • 2005 Jilin chemical plant explosions
  • The Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites in the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, known as the largest toxic waste site in North America.
  • Release of lead dust into Esperance Harbour.
  • Release of cyanide, heavy metals and acid into the Alamosa River, Colorado from the Summitville mine, causing the death of all aquatic life 17 miles downstream.
  • Release of 20,000 gallons of lethal chemicals (metam sodium, tradename Vapam) into the Upper Sacramento River near Dunsmuir, causing the death of all aquatic life within a 38-mile radius.
  • Release of CFCs resulting in ozone depletion
  • Release of sulfur dioxide after a fire at the Al-Mishraq plant in Iraq
  • The Phillips Disasters
  • Health issues on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation due to chemical factories
  • Environmental issues with the Three Gorges Dam
  • Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill
  • The Great Smog in London in 1952
  • Mining

  • 1947 Centralia mine disaster, Illinois
  • Centralia mine fire, Pennsylvania, 1962
  • Phosphate mining in Nauru
  • Phosphate mining in St. Pierre Island
  • Talvivaara gypsum pond leak, Finland, 2012
  • Mount Polley mine disaster, British Columbia, 2014
  • Bento Rodrigues dam disaster, Samarco mine tailings dam failure, which spread for over 2 states, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo, all the way to the Atlantic sea. Brazil, 2015
  • The "Door to Hell" (also known as the Gate to Hell, the Crater of Fire, Darvaza Crater), a natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan continuously burning.
  • Coal mining
  • Martin County sludge spill
  • Mountaintop removal mining
  • Upper Big Branch Mine disaster
  • Oil industry

  • Environmental issues in the Niger Delta relating to the oil industry
  • Lago Agrio oil field issues
  • Exxon Valdez oil spill
  • Arctic Refuge drilling controversy
  • Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • Sidoarjo mud flow triggered by Lapindo Brantas gas exploration in 2006; East Java, Indonesia
  • Leaded gasoline introduced 1920s; phased out globally by 2012.
  • Vila Parisi (Brazil)
  • Nuclear

  • Chernobyl disaster in 1986 in Chernobyl, Ukraine, "killed at least 4056 people and damaged almost $7 billion of property". Radioactive fallout from the accident concentrated near Belarus, Ukraine and Russia and at least 350,000 people were forcibly resettled away from these areas. After the accident, "traces of radioactive deposits unique to Chernobyl were found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere".
  • Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster: Following an earthquake, tsunami, and failure of cooling systems at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and issues concerning other nuclear facilities in Japan on March 11, 2011, a nuclear emergency was declared. This was the first time a nuclear emergency had been declared in Japan, and 140,000 residents within 20 km of the plant were evacuated. Explosions and a fire have resulted in dangerous levels of radiation, sparking a stock market collapse and panic-buying in supermarkets.
  • Mayak nuclear waste storage tank explosion, (Chelyabinsk, Soviet Union, 29 September 1957), 200+ people died and 270,000 people were exposed to dangerous radiation levels. Over thirty small communities had been removed from Soviet maps between 1958 and 1991.
  • Windscale fire, United Kingdom, October 8, 1957. Fire ignites plutonium piles and contaminates surrounding dairy farms.
  • Soviet submarine K-431 accident, August 10, 1985 (10 people died and 49 suffered radiation injuries).
  • Soviet submarine K-19 accident, July 4, 1961. (8 deaths and more than 30 people were over-exposed to radiation).
  • Nuclear testing at Moruroa and Fangataufa in the Pacific Ocean
  • Fallout from the Castle Bravo nuclear test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands
  • The health of Downwinders
  • Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day.
  • Hanford Nuclear, 1986 – The U.S. government declassifies 19,000 pages of documents indicating that between 1946 and 1986, the Hanford Site near Richland, Washington, released thousands of US gallons of radioactive liquids. Radioactive waste was both released into the air and flowed into the Columbia River (which flows to the Pacific Ocean). In 2014, the Hanford legacy continues with billions of dollars spent annually in a seemingly endless cleanup of leaking underground
  • Air/land/water

  • Proliferation of plastic shopping bags
  • Air

  • The Donora Smog of 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania in the United States
  • The Great Smog of 1952, which killed 4,000 Londoners
  • The 1983 Melbourne dust storm
  • The 1997 Southeast Asian haze
  • The 2005 Malaysian haze
  • The 2006 Southeast Asian haze
  • Yokkaichi asthma in Japan
  • Health problems due to the Jinkanpo Atsugi Incinerator in Japan
  • Kuwaiti oil fires
  • Land

  • The Dust Bowl of Canada and the United States
  • Contaminated soils in Mapua, New Zealand due to the operation of an agricultural chemicals factory
  • Basin F, a disposal site in the United States for contaminated liquid wastes from the chemical manufacturing operations of the Army and its lessee Shell Chemical Company
  • Exide lead contamination in southeast Los Angeles County, California, United States, from a battery recycling plant that emitted lead, arsenic and other dangerous pollutants
  • 2006 Côte d'Ivoire toxic waste dump
  • Nigeria gully erosion crisis
  • Water

  • Sandoz chemical spill, severely polluting the Rhine in 1986
  • Selenium poisoning of wildlife due to farm runoff used to create Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge, and the artificial wetland
  • The Jiyeh Power Station oil spill in the Mediterranean region
  • Effects of polluted water in the Berkeley Pit in the United States
  • Ignition and conflagration (13 times from 1868 to 1969) of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, United States
  • Cheakamus River derailment which polluted a river with caustic soda
  • Draining and development of the Everglades
  • Loss of Louisiana Wetlands due to Mississippi River levees, saltwater intrusion through manmade channels, timber harvesting, subsidence, and hurricane damage.
  • Lake Okeechobee is heavily polluted and during extreme events releases large volumes of polluted water into the St. Lucie River estuary and the Caloosahatchee River estuary.
  • Marine
  • Coral bleaching
  • Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone due to high-nutrient fertilizer runoff from the Midwest that is drained through the Mississippi River.
  • The artificial Osborne Reef off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the United States
  • Dumping of conventional and chemical munitions in Beaufort's Dyke, a sea trench between Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • Marine debris
  • Environmental threats to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Nurdles, plastic pellet typically under 5mm in diameter
  • Friendly Floatees
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • Minamata disease, mercury poisoning in Japan
  • Mercury in fish
  • Ocean acidification due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions
  • References

    List of environmental disasters Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Khim Borey
    Matej Pučko
    Lia (singer)