Natural disasters include floods, hurricanes, forest fires, tornadoes, volcanoes, extreme heat, snow, ice and drought. The effects that natural events have on the environment directly and indirectly may be harmful to people. Forest fires and volcanoes harm air quality. Hurricanes and floods can contaminate water supplies and damage wastewater facilities. Any of these can spread contaminated materials into the environment.
People's response to natural events can cause them to harm either themselves or the environment. Improper use of portable generators or supplemental heating devices can release deadly carbon monoxide. De-icing agents and ice melting compounds can pollute waterways. Exceptionally large amounts of debris can present serious disposal problems for state and local communities. (Source: EPA / Photo: Flickr)