BY: ROB HOFFMAN
Though human-made environmental disasters like Fukushima cripple the earth, nature always gets the last laugh. A recent survey established a thriving region of untapped wildlife in the abandoned and overgrown expanse of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. Following in the footsteps of these discoveries is Polish photographer, Arkadiusz Podniesinski, who just released an incredible photo essay that explores Fukushima’s exclusion zone, spanning approximately 20km of radioactive-rubble overtaken by the forces of nature. Podniesinski had to file for permits in order to gain access to the area, which now resembles something out of I Am Legend.
This isn’t Podniesinski’s first rodeo in terms of nuclear ghost towns, either—he also captured photos from the Chernobyl disaster zone last year. “The disaster could have been foreseen and prevented. As in the Chernobyl case, it was a human, not technology, that was mainly responsible for the disaster,” says Podniesinski on his website.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which transpired in 2011, forced 160,000 residents to evacuate their homes, with over 120,000 people still affected by the disaster, residing in “temporary accommodations,” which foreseeably, could last them a lifetime. Though, as Podniesinski remarks, “Twenty thousand workers are painstakingly cleaning every piece of soil,” a disaster of this magnitude has the capacity to cripple a region for generations to come.