Jan 2020

Five ways in which disasters worsen air pollution

According to the World Health Organization, every year, around 7 million people die prematurely from disease caused by air pollution. That is 800 people every hour, or 13 every minute, dying because of the dirty air they breathe. Approximately, 4 million of these deaths occur in the Asia-Pacific region.

Industries and storage sites can see damages to pipelines, storage tanks, and processing equipment which can, in turn, result in the release of hazardous materials. A notable example in recent history was the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, where a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Pollutants are usually released into the environment through cycles that flow between air, land and water, until they are buried in lakes or deep ocean sediments. However, wildfires, floods volcanic eruptions, tsunamis or earthquakes can release these elements suddenly and in large quantities.

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