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The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown
Kuwait Oil Well Fires
As the 1991 Gulf War was winding down, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein sent forces into Kuwait to set fire to the country's lucrative oil fields as part of a "scorched Earth policy." More than 1 billion barrels of oil were burned, causing noxious plumes of smoke and creating a large-scale environmental disaster. An additional 10 million barrels were poured into the Persian Gulf, poisoning the animal and marine life in the area.
The longterm impact:
The oil fires had a profound impact on Kuwait's land the sand and gravel combined with oil and soot to form "tarcrete" over around 5 percent of the country. And over 300 oil lakes formed in Kuwait. The lakes, say Kuwait's Oil Minister, hold between 25 and 50 million barrels of oil.
Kuwaiti people continue to suffer myriad health problems as a result of the fires and the region has seen increased cases of cancer.
Oil-well firefighters from around the globe worked together to put out the burning oil wells of Kuwait. (Photo: Robert van der Hilst/CORBIS)
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The Prestige oil spill
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