Environmental Fury

Over the past few months, one environmental flash point after another has garnered attention. And has shaken the world.

The attention isn't unwarranted. It has made an impact, usually bad to worse, on the people living in the region where it occurred.

It just goes onto show that we are living in extremely fragile environmental conditions.

The year 2010 started with a serious and damaging earthquake in the American nation of Haiti. The quake - measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale - struck Haiti on 12th January, 2010 - killing 230000 people. It injured another 300000 and left several thousand people homeless.

Haiti in itself is a very poor nation :-(. And this was a back breaking quake. It compounded the misery of her people. 

The situation hasn't changed 6 months down the line. In July 2010, CNN news anchors travelled to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, only to report - "It looks like the quake just happened yesterday".

God save and help the Haitians.

Fast forward to Moscow, Russia. Circa Feb 2010.

Russia is a nation which is used to cold weather and snow.

But on 23rd Feb 2010, Moscow witnessed record snowfall -  approx. 67 centimeters or 25 inches in a single day. By some comparisons, it was twice the snowfall received by Washington D.C. this winter.

It beat the previous record - which was set 40 years earlier.

People just asked one question  - "Global Warming? Where is Global Warming?".

You would think, Russia is getting colder. Nope. That's not the case. You would have to rethink as you read further.

Shifting focus to United States of America, the richest nation in the world.

Some things are out of control of humans. But then you have some, like the BP oil spill, which are created by men.

On 20th April 2010, there was a spill from the sea floor oil gusher in a BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. It killed 11 people at that very moment and injured 17 others.

But it caused real destruction by spilling about 4.9 million barrels of oil. This was a major environmental disaster. It caused severe damage to marine and wild life. It destroyed the tourism and fishing industry.

You can sense the gravity of the disaster with this picture - taken by a NASA satellite.

Several endangered species living in the Gulf are considered to be at risk, even today.

It was just 20 days earlier that the oil spill was plugged, thereby avoiding further damage.

It's not that kind of disaster wherein you can clear off the damage easily. This is one which is bound to have a significant and detrimental  effect on the entire economy and lifestyle for years to come.

Going back to Moscow again.

It's July 2010. Just five months after the record shattering snowfall.

Can you imagine yourself sweating in cold Moscow??

Well, that was the case in July 2010 as a huge heat wave swept across the Russian capital.

The temperatures hovered across 35-40 degrees centigrade.

That is a complete 65 degree shift from the -25 degree centigrade temperature in winter, just a few months back. I think it is a very difficult thing to get adjusted to for the Muscovites.

This heat wave beat the previous record set 60 years back.

But this set of another crisis in terms of wild bush fires. The worst wildfires have resulted in the death of 52 people and has left several thousands of people homeless as entire villages becked with wooden homes burned down.

Air pollution has surged to five times the normal level. Smog has blanketed the Moscow skyline.

The wildfires have even threatened Russia military sites. The missiles have been moved to safe places. There is also a risk of the fire reactivating contamination in the area affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Moving onto the Indian sub continent.

The monsoon season is in full swing in the Indian sub continent.

Pakistan has had to bear the fury of the monsoon with the floods. The worst floods in 80 years have killed 1600 people and have affected millions.

The destruction has been massive. With limited resources at the disposal of the Government to aid the people, the misery of her people has been compounded.

And on 6th August 2010, a cloudburst in Leh, India has resulted in death of 130 people. Another 600 people are considered to be missing and are feared to have been washed away.

The cloudburst resulted in heavy rains and flash floods. This has resulted in massive destruction of one of the most scenic places in India.

Hope our wonderful earth is spared of such environmental furies going ahead.
Environmental Fury Environmental Fury Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Sunday, August 08, 2010 Rating: 5


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