By Megan Irwin
Nuclear weapons have been on the forefront of proving international dominance for the past half-century, beginning after the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as both cities fell victim to the atomic bomb. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the only two nuclear weapons to be used in global warfare, however, the creation and expansion of nuclear weapons have spread to a multitude of countries, all in order to compete in the ongoing nuclear arms race for superiority. Following the thought of a full-scale nuclear war, comes the onslaught of possible consequences that would ensue.
The extreme amount of nuclear weapons held by large political powers, such as Russia, North Korea, and the United States, allows them to continue to use the hazardous buildup and exploitation of nuclear weapons as a political threat. This threat to inflict environmental devastation on other countries has lead to an increase in intensity among world powers. The United States and North Korea especially have had immense nuclear tension in the past decade that has yet to be resolved, leaving citizens scared of a looming nuclear war. Recently, at the Hanoi Summit, a conference between the U.S and North Korea regarding the denuclearization of North Korea, both world leaders refused to come to a peaceful resolution to denuclearize North Korea. The tension between these world powers promotes further advancements of nuclear technology as retribution.
Even a small nuclear war would cause near-irreparable levels of environmental devastation. The hypothetical scenario of a nuclear war would drop ozone layers, kill natural vegetations and animals, plus the numbers of human casualties would be insurmountable – not mentioning the nuclear waste that would take decades to clean and recover from. A singular nuclear bomb containing twenty kilograms of uranium would create 2000 metric tons of uranium mining waste and four metric tons of depleted uranium among other deadly toxins. Multiply the waste of a singular nuclear bomb by the 70,000 nuclear warheads manufactured on an international scale, the environmental impacts would be catastrophic, if there was an environment left to save after a nuclear war.
Billions of lives are left in the hands of several world powers too stubborn to realize that the production and threat of nuclear war itself is problematic. The childlike nature of world leaders may find a shiny red button too irresistible that they kill billions of innocent civilians who never thought that their death would be in the headlines of the first nuclear war.
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