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As Philadelphia recovers from the visit of His Holiness, Pope Francis, we all face the dilemma anyone who’s ever thrown a big party knows all about: massive cleanup. To comfort those who are cleaning their streets, businesses or even homes in the aftermath of the biggest event Philadelphia has arranged in years, we thought we would provide you with a list of some of the largest recent cleanup projects. Just to remind you that it could be worse!

The Great Ocean Cleanup

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of mainly plastic debris floating around in the North Pacific Ocean. No one knows how large the patch is exactly, but it’s been estimated to be up to the size of the state of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has a disastrous effect on marine life and birds, which is why scientists are working hard to figure out a way to clean this incredible mess, or to at least keep it from growing.

The Fukushima Cleanup

In 2011, an earthquake and a tsunami together caused crucial equipment failures at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan. It was the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, and involved three nuclear meltdowns as well as radioactive materials being released into the air, contaminating soil, crops and water. The cleanup has been underway since the accident, but it won’t be finished for at least another 10 years, and the final cost is estimated to be as high as 13 billion dollars.

Hurricane Katrina Cleanup

Everyone knows Hurricane Katrina, and that’s because it is the most expensive, as well as one of the deadliest, hurricanes in history. In 2005, it destroyed areas along the gulf coast ranging from Florida to Texas, but everyone best remembers the destruction that New Orleans faced. The hurricane caused an incredible 80% of the city to get flooded, and the total costs of the hurricane ended up being about 108 billion dollars. It took weeks to get the floodwater out of New Orleans and, in large areas all over the country, the cleanup and rebuilding is still going on to this day, even after over 10 years of continuous efforts.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Cleanup

In 2010, the biggest accidental oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico. In April of that year, an oil well over a mile under the surface of the gulf exploded and started to leak oil into the ocean at a staggering rate of up to 2.5 million gallons a day. Despite repeated effort to fix the problem, the leakage continued until July 25th, leading to an approximated 206 million gallons of oil leaking into the ocean. The cleanup used over 1.82 million gallons of dispersant and cost over 14 billion dollars, and the long-term consequences are not yet known.

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