Is Chernobyl still a ghost town?

The name Chernobyl has been making headlines since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Many people believe that the once flourishing city is now a barren land devoid of any life, but the reality is contrary.

Photo Credit: USFCRFC

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear disaster that happened on April 26, 1986, at a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat in the Soviet Union’s Ukrainian SSR. It was one of the deadliest disasters in the history mankind. A nuclear disaster more lethal than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over 100,000 people were displaced from Chernobyl, leaving behind a ghost town. The contaminated surroundings are no more suitable for human residence, at least for many years to come. Now there are only a few people working in Chernobyl trying to fix the aftermath of nuclear radiation.

An exclusive zone called as Chernobyl Exclusive Zone (CEZ) of 2,700 square km was set up surrounding the powerplant to restrict human inhabitation. Since then there was not much human activity in this restricted area for the last three decades and it has provided an opportunity for the flora and fauna to thrive.

  Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

Now the CEZ is one of the third-largest nature reserves in mainland Europe blooming with lush green forest and all kinds of wildlife. Between 1987 and 1996, boar, elk, and roe deer populations quadrupled in the Belarussian part of the exclusion zone. Wolves had become so numerous by the mid-1990s that they were becoming a nuisance to farmers. The lack of human activities like hunting wild animals and farming has provided a haven for wildlife to thrive. This disaster which forced us, humans, to stay away from Chernobyl is a perfect example of how nature finds a way to fix itself given a chance.

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