The screenwriter of the popular TV show Chernobyl is urging tourists visiting the site of the nuclear disaster to show some “respect”.
Craig Mazin, who wrote the HBO mini-series about the worst nuclear accident in history, weighed in on the debate after photos were recently shared online of people posing irreverently at the site.
Interest in the Chernobyl power plant and Pripyat, the Ukrainian ghost town where it’s located, has skyrocketed since the show aired in May.
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“It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion,” Mazin tweeted in response. “But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around.
“If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”
Under the #Chernobyl hashtag on Instagram, among the more haunting posts of derelict buildings are pictures of people posing or jumping and smiling in front of the never-used ferris wheel and city name sign.
“If you look for photos by location Chernobyl on Instagram, you can find this kind of stuff,” wrote one Twitter user under the handle @lettipop, alongside images including a blonde woman posing on a rusty swing and a man in front of the ferris wheel holding his leg up in a high kick.
“I don’t know about you but I see a place like this and I do not stop crying for days. I do not know how you can stomach doing these kinds of photos.”
One Instagram user, going by the handle nz.nik, even stripped off for a topless pose in Pripyat, drawing censure from hundreds of commenters.
According to a UN report, it is thought that up to 4,000 people lost their lives due to radiation exposure after a safety test went wrong at Chernobyl on 26 April 1986.
Some 33 years since tragedy struck, Pripyat is still uninhabited and is expected to remain so for hundreds of years due to residual radiation.
However, the site has been open to tourists since 2011, when authorities deemed it safe to visit.
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