Ruined amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine

هل البشر أسوأ من تشرنوبيل؟

بورتسموث ــ لقد مر ما يقرب من الثلاثين عاماً منذ وقع الحادث النووي في تشرنوبيل، ولا يزال المجتمع العلمي يتجادل حول التأثير الذي يخلفه الإشعاع على النظام البيئي المحيط بالمفاعل. ومؤخرا، قمت بالتعاون مع علماء آخرين بدراسة الحيوانات في منطقة حظر تواجد البشر في محيط المحطة.

وكانت النتائج مذهلة: فأياً كان تأثير الإشعاع على الحيوانات، يبدو أن تأثير التجمعات السكانية كان أسوأ كثيرا. يذكرنا الموقع بشكل صارخ بأن مجرد التواجد المادي البسيط للبشر في مواطن الحيوانات أشد ضرراً من واحد من أسوأ الكوارث البيئية في القرن الحادي والعشرين.

فقد قمنا بدراسة الحيوانات في قطاع المنطقة المحظورة في بيلاروسيا والذي تبلغ مساحته نحو 2200 كيلومتر مربع ويسمى "محمية البيئة الإشعاعية في ولاية بولسي". كانت هذه المنطقة قبل الكارثة موطناً لنحو 22 ألف شخص في 92 قرية، وكانت الأرض تُزرَع وتُستَغَل لمواردها من الغابات. وفي الأيام التي أعقبت الحادث، سارعت السلطات إلى إجلاء سكان المنطقة من البشر مع حيوانات مزارعهم لحمايتهم من مستويات الإشعاع المرتفعة.

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