On April 26th,1986, the world’s worst nuclear man-made disaster changed history. This was in Chernobyl, where everyone had suddenly left. They were all escaping modern men’s biggest fear – a nuclear disaster.
The terrifying event that marked the Ukrainian city and its outskirts put 400 times more radioactive material into the Earth’s atmosphere than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. After the explosion of reactor number four, scientists predicted that the city would be cursed for thousands of years by a nuclear winter.
Yet, 35 years later, like a fabled lost city devoured by forests, Chernobyl has quickly become a green and peaceful place. For the whole of mankind, this place is a forbidden zone. On the edge of the city are empty rural villages. Today, many of those villages have become a sanctuary for an unforeseen variety of woodland wildlife. Where families once lived stand abandoned houses where time seems to have stood still. Contrary to popular belief, the high levels of radiation drastically decreased after the first few months; However, in the absence of mankind, nature quickly bounced back, and greenery took over the infamous place. An unbelievable diversity in the local ecosystem has repopulated the region where animals, birds, and insects are back in prodigious numbers. For instance, wolves are 7 times more abundant in the region than in any other reserve in Ukraine. Ukrainian and Belarussian scientists have documented hundreds of plants and animals, including 60 endangered species. What’s more. research has shown that only 10 years after the accident, the local animal population has shown little to no ill effects from radiation. Many studies have observed wild boar, elk, and roe deer populations, amongst which none suffered from any radiation-related diseases.
The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown was without a doubt a dreadful day for the environment. Nevertheless, it is arguably safe to say that nature has proven to recover and overcome better and faster than the scientific community envisioned.