October 12, 2022

The race to eradicate man from Planet Earth through nuclear and chemical weapons (2)

By Aare Afe Babalola

THE large number of letters which I have received from readers of my last article titled: “The race to eradicate man from planet earth through nuclear and chemical weapons” demonstrated and confirmed beyond all reasonable doubts the statement of Nikita Khrushchev when Francis Gary Power U2 plane was brought down in Ukraine, that “every living thing wants to live”. 

I thank all the numerous commentators for their contributions and I intend to publish some if not all of these comments next week.

The major threat to planet earth in the Triassic period and early human life was ASTEROIDS, particularly in the Near-Earth Objects, or NEO which are more than 50 metres in diameter. However, the threat to planet earth in the 21st century is the nuclear and chemical weapons on which powerful nations are spending billions of dollars annually. 

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions. Its effects can be divided into four: the instantaneous, near-immediate, short term and long term. 

The immediate or instantaneous effect is the heat of the nuclear explosion which reaches a temperature of several million degrees centigrade.This is hotter than the surface of the sun. This results in a heat flash over the blast radius, which vapourises human tissue. For better illustration of this, at Hiroshima, the only remains of most people caught within the blast radius of half a mile was their shadows burnt in stone!!!

Within the near immediate effect, people inside buildings or otherwise shielded will be indirectly killed by the blast. Buildings will collapse and all flammable materials around will burst into flames. The death rate will be over 90 per cent. The oxygen in the atmosphere will fuel the firestorm to follow. Oxygen will be sucked out of the atmosphere, leading to even more deaths. Most survivors will suffer severe burns, blindness and haemorrhages, among others. The share scale of destruction and casualties will be overwhelming. 

In the short term, the area around the blast will become radio-active. Radioactive dusts can be blown over very long distances, mixing with water, rain clouds and air. 

This may lead to radiation poisoning, which cause hair loss, bleeding from the mouth and gums, internal bleeding and haemorrhagic diarrhoea, gangrenous ulcers, vomiting, fever, delirium and terminal coma, mutation and damage to immune systems. There is no effective treatment for radioactive poisoning. 

In the long term, this can lead to radiation-induced cancer such as thyroid cancer and leukaemia, and birth with abnormalities. Also, nuclear weapons cause severe damage to the climate and the environment of the affected areas. 

The capability of a nuclear bomb to affect climate was estimated by the International Red Cross thus: a limited nuclear war involving 100-Hiroshima-sized bombs, which is less than one per cent of the global stockpile, will lead to the release of millions of soots into the atmosphere, which will eventually cause global climate to fall by 1.3 Celsius. This disruption of climate will lead to starvation of a billion people around the world, as a direct consequence. 

At the moment, nine nations, including the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea possess nuclear weapons (nukes), the total global stockpile being 13,000. The present-day nukes make those dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, during the Second World War, as child’s play. The simplest kind of nuclear weapon have the power to destroy whole cities. 

Unfortunately, man has increased its destructive capacity by evolving the thermonuclear bombs or hydrogen bombs,which have more destructive power than the first-generation atomic bombs, and come in a more compact size and a lower mass. The largest of this hydrogen bomb is the Soviet Union’s Czar Bomba, which has over 1500 times more destructive power than the ones dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This has enough destructive ability to completely and effectively annihilate a country.This was the only one made by the Soviet Union. 

As if this is not enough, there are nations that have deliberately developed chemical weapons. These are specialised ammunition that use chemicals to inflict death or harm on humans. Why should man spend billions of dollars to develop chemical weapons to destroy human beings while their citizens are wallowing in poverty?It is obvious from the above that man can easily recreate all the effects of an asteroid impact, and more, just by detonation of a few nukes and chemical weapons. What was therefore feared in the past as having the capability of global extinction, is what man has developed today, all for the purpose of eradicating man from the surface of planet earth.

Is man the Apocalypse?

One of the downsize of technology is man’s propensity to use it for destructive purposes. As destructive as nuclear and chemical weapons are, men have produced and stockpiled them in large quantities: 13,000 nukes in all, of which, Russia alone has 5,997 and the United States of America has 5,428(declared as at January 1, 2022 and published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist). 

The combined destructive weapons by the two nations is 90 per cent of the world’s stockpile. It is my fear that if the current Russia-Ukraine war degenerates into a world war, nukes will be introduced into the war. This may be end of life of man on planet earth as we know it. This leaves me to wonder at the prediction in the Bible that planet earth as we know it will be destroyed by fire?

My passionate appeal

Planet earth is strategic in its location.It is perfect to sustain life. The race to find another planet is on, but none has been found. Who knows if this is the reason why space exploration became abundant? Even if another habitable planet is found, it is obvious that a lot of people will not be able to afford the journey. We have no other home than planet earth. Saving the planet earth is, therefore, a must for all. 

Many of the world powers, including Russia and the United States, have signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty, which is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology; promoting cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general complete disarmament. It is imperative that the letter and the spirit of this treaty is honoured. 

I, therefore, call on the United Nations and the G8 to broker peace in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia and prevent a third World War. If a third World War, a nuclear war breaks out, there will be no winner and the world as we know it will come to an end. This planet earth outlived the dinosaurs.It can outlive us too. It is therefore obvious that if we want to continue to live on planet earth, we must stop threatening the use of nuclear or chemical weapons.

*Please send your comments and suggestions to my email: [email protected].