Environmental Terror In Ohio



A man takes photos as a black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It has been over a month since the disaster which took place in East Palestine, Ohio, when a Norfolk Southern train derailed while carrying toxic materials. To prevent a potential explosion, governmental officials decided it was best to “safely” rid of the chemicals through burning the materials. Despite a month passing since the occurrence, there are still numerous health concerns surrounding the disaster, as well as questions regarding how the government is handling the situation. 

What were the health effects after the derailment?

East Palestine residents returned home to a town which was proclaimed safe by both the governors of Pennsylvania and Ohio. However, upon return, East Palestinians were suspicious of the living conditions. Many reported that their homes contained a chemical smell, and questioned the air quality testing being run by the government. According to a source from usatoday.com, over 43,000 animals died in and around East Palestine following the incident. One lady who lives ten miles from the derailment reported the sudden death of six chickens on her farm. The majority of the animals dead were minnows, which floated and washed up in creeks and streams. This has caused many to worry about the safety surrounding drinking water, as toxic chemicals had been deposited into the Ohio River. 

What are the main takeaways from the disaster?

The obvious main takeaway from the East Palestine train derailment is the effect on the environment. Many have compared the situation to a nuclear bomb going off, as toxic chemicals spread potentially further than 100 miles. Animals died immediately. Drinking water is most likely polluted for thousands of Ohioans, Pennsylvanians, and West Virginians. Along with short term health effects, long term health effects are possible for residents as well. 

The second take away from the situation is how poorly the US government is handling the disaster. Much of the federal government was completely ignorant, and those who did show up in East Palestine were primarily there for public attention and did little to help. Norfolk Southern has done virtually nothing to help support the people of East Palestine, or at least make up for their mistakes. 

Concerns still echo from the disaster on February 6, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. With lack of governmental help, and the significant environmental scares, many fear for the safety of their own lives, their children’s lives, and the life of their hometown.