Man-made disasters, ones in which human activity (or inaction) causes or indirectly leads to environmental destruction and health issues, can have devastating long-term effects. The Onion looks back at the worst man-made disasters in modern history.


Castle Bravo (1954):

This American thermonuclear hydrogen test at the Marshall Islands caused significant radiological contamination, which is why it was so smart to test it someplace that wasn’t the U.S.

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Ecocide In Vietnam (1950s-1970s):

The U.S. justified its mass destruction of farmland during the Vietnam War by insisting it was vital to defeat the growing dangers posed by rice.

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Shrinking Of The Aral Sea (1960s-Present):

Boo-hoo, some water disappeared, get over it already.


Thomas Jefferson Middle School (1972-Present):

Asbestos, lead paint, black mold—the whole nine yards.


Bhopal Disaster (1984):

You really don’t even want to know about this.


Chernobyl Nuclear Explosion (1986):

This catastrophic nuclear explosion was a large-scale tragedy contaminating many people, but you should totally Google it if you wanna see some real gnarly tumors.

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Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (1989):

This devastating incident caused the deaths of at least 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, and a bunch of other, less photogenic animals.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010):

The moment when oil companies discovered there is truly no limit to human indifference.

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Battleship (2012):

Hasbro tried to cash in on one of its most tried-and-true board games, but even Liam Neeson and Rihanna couldn’t bring light to this disaster of a film.

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Old Poland Spring Bottle Spill (2096):

Some idiot forgets to screw the cap all the way back on the bottle containing Earth’s last remaining fresh water. 

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