The term, “technical disaster” defines the source of a disaster and the term, “environmental disaster” describes the results of problematic man-made interferences with the natural environment.
Environmental disasters are defined as man-made damages to the natural environment that result in disease and death of living beings; including, plants, animals and human beings. Environmental disasters can result from technical accidents, human, technological or mechanical failure or carelessness, they can be the consequence of long-term environmental pollution, such as, the greenhouse effect or the destruction of the ozone layer.
Different kinds of accidents can cause diverse harmful incidents:
Nuclear disasters result from failures of nuclear plants or the usage of atomic bombs, whether for testing or attacking. The worst nuclear disaster ever, was the catastrophe of Chernobyl.
Chemical disasters occur due to accidents in factories, during transport, or they can be the side effects of mining, agricultural implementation, careless usage or military activities.
One of the worst chemical disasters was the the incident in Bhopal in India in 1984, where a failure in appliances of a pesticide plant released enormous clouds of toxic MIC gas, sending them floating down the streets of the densely settled areas around factory and causing the death of thousands, and the spread of various diseases and contamination that are still spreading today.
Oil spills are usually the consequences of leakages in oil tankers on the ocean and have devastating effects onto oceanic life, primarily to birds that die from polluted feathers.
Mining disasters can occur either from mining tunnels collapsing, burying the miners working underneath the earth, or by the spillage of hazardous chemicals employed for dissolving the minerals to be extracted. An example is in the mining of gold, during which cyanide is used, and often carelessly spilled on farming land.
The collapse of architecture, buildings, bridges, or dams can also be followed by destructive consequences; e.g., the breaking of dams can release enormous amounts of water resulting in devastating flooding, or spillage of chemicals.
Accidents in transportation, whether by airplane, ship, train or motorized vehicle can have disastrous effects, e.g., by the involvement of large numbers of passengers, by spilling huge amounts of oil or chemicals, or by causing fire, collapse of buildings or blockage of passage ways.
Forest fires in arid areas can also be caused by human carelessness of e.g., by leaving behind pieces of broken glass – enough to incite a fire.