The HBO mini-series on Chernobyl is a true horror story. It shows bureaucratic lying, incompetence, cowardice and idiocy, with decisions that cause the deaths of many thousands. And it shows a handful of courageous citizens who risk their lives-- and actually give up their lives, to save millions of others.
The thing is, Chernobyl is the worst case... that we know of. Then there's Fukushima and there was Three Mile Island. And perhaps there are other nuclear horror stories that have been kept secret from us. Those are some of the worst cases.
But there are over 1300 highly contaminated superfund sites. They are not as bad as Chernobyl or Fukushima, but they are bad and the may have killed or are killing people. What we can learn from HBO's Chernobyl mini-series is how bad these sites can be, how bad the lying and deception and incompetence by the people in charge can be. Wikipedia says, of the Superfund site program,
"Since 2001, most of the funding for cleanup of hazardous waste sites has been taken from taxpayers generally, irrespective of polluting. Despite the name, the program has suffered from under-funding, and Superfund cleanups have decreased to a mere 8 in 2014..."
And I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn if you really believe that there are only 1300 some seriously contaminated sites. I'm sure there are many more in the US and probably tens of thousands world-wide.
The fact is, Chernobyl happened because of a long series of lies and decisions to do things cheaper.
Mikhail Gorbachev said that Chernobyl may have been the cause of the end of the Soviet Union.
The official death Soviet toll for Chernobyl is 31.
The documentary is powerful and worth watching. The lesson is that people with financial, power and influence interests lie about safety. Or they leave out key information. Those lies kill people.
Every day corporations and their enablers within the government lie and cut corners to make bigger profits. For example, this article describes how the EPA is changing the way statistics are handled: E.P.A. Plans to Get Thousands of Pollution Deaths Off the Books by Changing Its Math. And 83 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back By Trump.
But it's not just Trump. There are too many corporate Democrats who protect corporations that harm the environment.
I hope that HBO's Chernobyl documentary wakes people up to the much bigger threat we face.