U.S. Water News Online
Some of the major environmental concerns raised by the December
DEBRIS: The tsunami left thousands of tons of debris in its
wake, from twisted automobiles and contaminated oil drums to
asbestos-laced rooftops. Many countries, including Indonesia, the
Maldives and Sri Lanka, are struggling to clean up mountains of trash
which could spread disease and contaminate groundwater if not safely
deposited in landfills.
SOIL CONTAMINATION: Tsunami waves washing inland
contaminated tens of thousands of acres of farmland with salt,
leaving them barren and unproductive for years to come -- though some
have recovered quickly. Environmentalists have also found that
sewage, oil spills and industrial runoff have contaminated soil in
several countries, including Indonesia where dangerously high levels
of heavy metals were found.
COASTAL DEVASTATION: Mangrove forests and coral reefs were
hit in some coastal regions, though several studies have found the
damage was localized and minimal when compared to the destruction
caused by decades of development, dynamite fishing and aquaculture.
UNCHECKED REDEVELOPMENT: The World Wide Fund for Nature and
other environmental groups have warned that unchecked construction in
tsunami areas could fuel an increase in illegal logging while
contributing to the destruction of coral reefs and mangrove forests.
The United Nations says fish stocks could face collapse in tsunami
zones because donors are promising many more boats than existed
before the disaster and offering to industrialize what was mostly a
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