“Chernobyl 2.0”? A train derailment in Ohio sparks wild speculation.

“Chernobyl 2.0”? A train derailment in Ohio sparks wild speculation.

“Chernobyl 2.0”? A train derailment in Ohio sparks wild speculation.

>>> DOWNLOAD MP3 <<<

Since a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in Ohio nearly two weeks ago, residents have feared for their safety. Controlled burning of toxic materials has filled the air and coated surface waters and soil with chemicals. Dead fish floated into nearby creeks and an unnerving aroma lingered in the air.


But for many commentators from across the political spectrum, the speculation goes far beyond known facts. Right-wing commentators have been particularly critical, using the crisis to sow distrust of government agencies and suggesting the damage may be irreparable.

On social media like Twitter and Telegram, commentators called the situation “the greatest environmental disaster in history” or simply “Chernobyl 2.0”, citing the 1986 nuclear disaster. They warned, without evidence, that the Vital water reservoirs serving downstream states could be severely contaminated. And they suggested that authorities, railroads and mainstream media were deliberately concealing the full toll of the crisis.

“Planned attack, cover-up or both?” asked “Conservative Daily Podcast,” a program known for promoting far-right talking points.

Some of this speculation was picked up by mainstream outlets like Fox News, which suggested the fallout could be catastrophic.

“You better clock in at 9 a.m. Ohio, even if it means inhaling mustard gas on the way in,” a sarcastic Fox News host Jesse Watters said Tuesday on a headline: “The City of L Ohio looks like Chernobyl.”

The Environmental Protection Agency and state officials have acknowledged that the situation in eastern Palestine, Ohio, is dire in many ways. After the train derailed on February 3, a fire broke out and approximately 50 of the 150 cars derailed or were damaged. Fearing an explosion, authorities ordered nearby residents to evacuate before conducting a controlled burn, which released a plume of toxic smoke for several hours visible for miles.

Since then, the EPA has said air quality has returned to safe levels. Residents were allowed to return. A chemical smell lingers because people can smell the contaminants even when they’re well below dangerous levels, according to the agency. Water tests have found “no indication of risk” for public water systems so far, the EPA said, although private wells should be tested. Utilities drawing from the Ohio River were taking precautions, and at least one company said it detected no changes in the water.

At a town hall meeting on Wednesday, frustrated residents pressed authorities for assurances that the air and water were safe. Experts have urged caution as they assess the long-term consequences, warning that airborne contaminants can settle on surfaces, seep into wells and migrate through cracks in subfloors. -soils and houses.

Still, right-wing influencers and commentators were quick to draw their own conclusions, theorizing about the extent of the damage and the federal response, which they said amounted to a vast cover-up.

“It’s a really scary thing,” Nick Sortor, a video reporter who covered the situation, said on Fox News’ popular show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “To think that we can’t trust the feds enough to tell us whether or not it’s safe to go to an area like this.”

“Well, they forced the Covid vaccines on the country,” Mr Carlson replied, “so I think they can’t be trusted.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who oversees the railroads, has become the target of criticism for many conservatives. Mr Carlson called Mr Buttigieg ‘flamboyantly incompetent’ and said his actions were ‘almost evil’ indifferent.

Online, some non-scientists wrote elaborate analyzes of the toxic chemicals, speculating that the concentration in the air of vinyl chloride, one of the chemicals carried on the train, was dangerously high. They rejected the EPA’s assessment that the air was safe, concluding instead that the area surrounding eastern Palestine was severely contaminated for miles.

“Note that I’m not a chemist, but just researching what these compounds can do is disturbing,” one user wrote on the Telegram chat app in a review claiming the toxins would have been safer if they had not been burned. At Wednesday’s town meeting, Eastern Palestine Mayor Trent R. Conaway said, “There were two options: either we blow it up or it blows up on its own. There was not a third.

Local media described several environmental consequences of the controlled burning, including that some fish were found dead in nearby streams and some pets had fallen ill. An EPA representative told the town hall that the chemicals were deadly to fish, not humans, and the waterways were already repopulating with fish.

But those reports quickly became mixed with unconfirmed and far more serious reports of environmental damage extending far beyond the burn site.

“Dead fish and livestock have been reported up to 100 miles from the site,” right-wing commentator Stew Peters wrote on Twitter, offering no evidence. The tweet received over 40 million views.

Belief in a cover-up has gained momentum these days, as netizens used the hashtag #OhioChernobyl to claim that national and local media were ignoring the disaster, although all major news networks and several news outlets local press have given at least some coverage. to events.

These claims were bolstered after a reporter for NewsNation, a cable news channel, was arrested while filming a report at a press conference and charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. The charges were later dropped.

“How can a journalist be hit with ‘criminal intrusion’?” asked Chris Cuomo, the former CNN anchor, who hosts a show on NewsNation. “I’ll tell you how. It’s when the people in power don’t want you.


Do you find AfroNaija useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button