What We Didn’t See In HBO’s Chernobyl About Pollution


Chernobyl, the series, which has given me sleepless nights ever since I watched the first episode. I am still in shock with the things that went down and what could’ve been the condition of people who were present in reality during the unfortunate events. I am writing this with the belief that you have seen the show. The show follows the 1986 explosion of reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat. The lives of people living near the plant and the ones who came to help contain the disaster were impacted unbelievably.

The show is brilliant in many aspects, and no one, including myself, can deny it. The creators showcased that they studied a lot about the disaster so that they can bring it to life. But still, HBO’s Chernobyl was not able to convey the impact airborne radioactive particles had on the lives of people. And why it became one of the worst air pollution incidents in history.

Spread of pollution: In the show, it is briefly mentioned that the people came to know about the disaster three days after it took place. It happened because researchers detected airborne radiation levels. Ever since the incident took place, the radioactive particles have not only affected Scandinavia but also Russia, and slowly captured the whole of Europe. The official death toll is just 31, but in reality, more than 16000 people were killed because of the radiations.

Bridge of Death: In HBO’s miniseries, it was shown briefly that the people were standing on the bridge watching the disaster. But, it wasn’t shown if the people who watched the disaster survived or not. According to author Adam Higginbotham, “People talk about the “bridge of death,” about the idea that a load of residents of Pripyat went out to stand on this railway bridge, which stood at the top of Lenina Prospekt, the main boulevard into the city, and watched the burning reactor from that standpoint. And that, in the subsequent years, every person who stood on that bridge died.”

Animals: What happened to the stray animals that lived near the areas of Chernobyl? It was reported that animals living in the areas near Chernobyl were killed by acute radiant poisoning the air. Even the animals that were born decades later faced physical problems, and the population of animals also decreased.