Over the past decade, environmental awareness has shot up dramatically all over the world, mainly due to the perception of global warming changing from a paranoid theory to “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Environmental disasters have made for some big headlines during the past 10 years, especially now that everyone wants to know the exact impact humans are having on the planet.
But often times the economic cost that comes with these catastrophes gets buried under the details concerning the amount of pollution or the number of affected species associated with the incident.
In this list, we remind you just how much it costs when humans have to clean up after the environmental messes we make.
On November 7, 2007 the 901-foot-long Cosco Busan container ship crashed into a protective fender of the San Francisco -- Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog, spilling 53,500 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into the San Francisco bay.
On December 7th, 2004 the Malaysian cargo ship the Selendang Ayu ran argound off the coast of Alaska, eventually breaking into two pieces (that's the detached rear end sinking, at left). Approximately 337,000 gallons of oil were released, most of which was driven onto the shoreline of Makushin and Skan Bays.
The total amount of clean-up costs and fees came to more than $112 million.
In July of 2006, the oil tanker the Probo Koala wanted to dispose of hundreds of tons of toxic waste in Amsterdam, but decided against it after being told doing so would require paying clean-up costs. Two months later, the ship illegally deposited the waste in the Ivorian port of Abidjan, resulting in the deaths of 10 people.
Trafigura Beheer BV, the oil and commodity shipping company responsible, had to pay the Ivorian government $198 million.
On July 15, 2006, the Israeli navy bombed the Jieh coast power station, resulting in a leakage of 25,000 tons of crude oil from the Lebanese coast to the Mediterranean Sea, affecting nearly 100 miles of coastline.
Clean up efforts were estimated to cost $203 million.
The Russian Volganeft-139 oil tanker spilled approximately half of it's 1.3 million gallons of fuel into the Black Sea due to a violent storm in November of 2007.
Cleaning up the spill cost more than 6 billion Rubles, or $200 million.
On December 7th, 2007, a crane barge crashed into the anchored Hebei Spirit, a South Korean crude carrier, spilling some 2.8 million gallons of crude oil into the Yellow Sea. Government officials called it South Korea's worst oil spill ever, about one-third the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
An explosion at the Azote de France fertiliser factory in September of 2001 killed 30 people and injured roughly 10,000 more. The blast originated in a downgraded ammonium nitrates store, but the cause was unknown.
The total cost of the incident was estimated at $522 million.
Britain's biggest peacetime explosion occured in December of 2005, when a blast at the Buncefield oil storage depot in Hertfordshire injured 43 people.
The cost of the disaster was estimated to be $1.11 billion.
The attacks on the World Trade centre on September 11, 2001 were so much more than an environmental disaster that the event almost seems out of place compared to factory explosions and oil spills, some of which resulted in zero human fatalities.
The $1.3 billion it took to clean up the damage at Ground Zero, though, make it the second most expensive environmental disaster on the list.
The oil spill from the tanker Prestige, which sank off of Spain on November 13, 2002, was far worse than originally claimed, according to the Spanish government. More than 80 per cent of the tanker's 77,000 tons of fuel oil is thought to have been spilled off Spain's north-east coast, much more than the 17,000 tons that had previously been reported.
The Barrie de la Maza economic institute criticised the Spanish government's handling of the catastrophe, which cost an estimated $2.8 billion.
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