“Have you ever wonder what is like in Fukushima exclusion zone now??? To feel what is like to be the only person walking in the town when you have 100% full access to every shop and explore??” writes a brave (foolish?) photographer on Facebook.
Keow Wee Loong, a Malaysian photographer who claims to have snuck past authorities in Fukushima, Japan, has taken photographs of the now-abandoned city where a nuclear power plant was hit by a tsunami following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011.
Here are some glimpses of what he documented there:
Loong says he "snuck through the forest" to avoid the police as well as the long wait that goes with getting a special permit to visit the town.
We don’t know how safe or smart this adventurous expedition was.
He writes: "When I entered the red zone, I can feel a burning sensation in my eyes and thick chemical smell in the air.”
What’s more, he apparently went there with his fiancé, Marta Sibielak, who presumably took the pictures of him posing around the empty stores.
He confirms that the radiation levels remain "very high" where he was. "I can find food, money, gold, laptops and other valuables in the red zone. I'm amazed that nobody looted this town clean," he added.
People have reacted to his pictures with a mix of amazement and outrage. Many internet users are contemplating how well the flimsy mask protected him as well as what radioactive radiation his body and clothes may have picked up.
Some of these photos are haunting, but the commentary.. (also, wearing a gas mask and sandals is stupid) https://t.co/XPOUbs96hT— Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) July 12, 2016
However, if the Fukushima government is to be believed, a big part of the once-cordoned off area has been cleaned up and is now fit for human habitation.
Nuclear radiation and its effects can last for a long time.
According to World Nuclear Association, the length of nuclear radiation can last anywhere between five years to several decades. However, they confess they do not have the expertise and knowledge to sufficiently conclude how long the effects of the radiation can be noticeable within the population, soil, and water.
Radioactive elements (Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 etc) are constantly coming from Fukushima and are likely to affect the health of those living the northern hemisphere for a long time to come.
According to The Wall Street Journal, it is projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete and even then, if the cleanup is not handled with extreme precision and care, its effects may linger and endanger lives for “for thousands of years.”
However, there are some daring souls out there.
Loong is also not the only one to have taken such a risky step. Carlos Ayesta and Guillaume Bression of Fukushima No Go Zone have also been there.
And then there was the brave guy who endangered his well being to rescue animals from the nuclear zone.