Ten to 15 of my childhood friends from Minsk died of cancer. Chernobyl kills.Svetlana Alexievich
Chernobyl has affected the lives of many people all over Europe to this day. The affected areas of the Chernobyl Disaster are said to last at least 150 years before proper inhabitation can come again. This disaster is noted as being one of the most severe and dangerous in human history, and the UN decided that there should be a holiday made to observe the history of what happened. Read more to learn about the history of International Chernoybl Disaster Remembrance Day and see how you can participate in this observance.
History of International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was built in 1977 to help make electricity for the infrastructure of the Soviet Union, or in modern day terms, Pripyat, Ukraine, to develop economic growth. Before the infamous incident, in 1982 the nuclear plant had a partial meltdown of reactor 1, causing some damage and taking a few months to repair. The initial accident wasn’t reported until the Chernobyl Disaster happened. The disaster was caused by a power surge that caused core explosions and open fires, leading to significant radiation leakage to disperse into the atmosphere and surrounding lands. Large areas of Europe were affected by this event as the radiation spread as far as Norway.
Although the incident caused the plant to be shut down, the effects of this accident led to long-lasting, damaging consequences. The main danger that caused radiation exposure to over 8.4 million people was due to air pollution. Communication about the incident itself was delayed and hidden in many parts; hence communication between officials and residents of neighboring towns was unclear, causing many to be affected by radiation from effects such as lethal rain and contaminated water. Many more died from the attempted cleanup than the incident itself, and many today have birth defects that result from this impending disaster. The UN, as a result, created multiple initiatives and developmental approaches to help control this issue. This holiday thus was created back in 2016 to teach people about the history of this incident, observe the consequences of what happened, and prevent future events from happening again.
How to celebrate International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day
If you want to observe this holiday, you can start by researching the event itself so you can understand what happened during the Chernobyl Disaster. Take the time to light a candle for those who are still affected by the radiation effects of the disaster. Tune into a live broadcast of speeches made by representatives at the UN Inter-Agency Task Force who aim to help reduce the results of the disaster. Lastly, share this holiday on social media using the hashtag #chernobyldisasterday and let everyone know why it’s important to remember this day.