After the nuclear accident that occurred at the Chernobyl power plant , the most serious nuclear accident in peacetime, the so-called Exclusion Zone was created. It has other names such as the 30-kilometer Zone, the Dead Zone or simply The Zone. They are 30 kilometers around the place of the accident. It belongs to an area of Kiev and Zhytomyr, in Ukraine, near the border with Belarus.
Human beings should not enter this Exclusion Zone without being properly protected so as not to suffer the effects of the radioactivity that still persists, although more than a quarter of a century has passed since the accident occurred. But animals and plants freely inhabit the Area. The journalist Mary Mycio has gone there to check their condition and photograph them.
- Nature runs its course
- Some legends
Nature runs its course
According to Mycio and the wildlife photographer Sergey Gaschak, who accompanied her, the animals are not only surviving, but their populations are recovering. Some 300,000 people had to evacuate the area after the accident in 1986. The lands used for agriculture and pasture were abandoned and have been turned into wetlands and forests and the animals have returned. The Exclusion Zone is a sanctuary for the wildlife of Europe.
Sergey Gaschak has been photographing animals in Chernobyl since 1995. He uses cameras with motion detectors that automatically go off when they notice one. There are bobcats, otters, eagle owls, Przewalski’s horses, bats, and brown bear tracks have been seen. We should create more such sanctuaries … without having to go through another nuclear accident.
Many people believe that the animals that live there will have two heads or four eyes or will emit a fluorescent light . Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that, as man does not step on the place, nature expands without restrictions , without any obstacle, without the influence of the human being. Radioactive nature, yes, but also wild.
It’s strange. An invention of the human being devastated the area. But decades later, nature recovers … precisely because the human being has disappeared. Does this mean that the salvation of the planet passes through the disappearance of the human being as a species? The Zone of Exclusion Chernobyl can be taken as a metaphor for what will happen in the future.
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