LITERALLY BURNING FOR DECADES, IT’S TIME TO CLOSE TURKMENISTAN’S GATEWAY TO HELL
So have you ever heard of Turkmenistan’s Gateway to Hell? If not, here’s a brief bio. It’s a natural gas crater in Turkmenistan. So why is it the Gateway to Hell? Well, maybe because it’s been burning non-stop since the year 1971. No, really, it’s been on fire for decades, literally. I remember reading about it years ago, and shook my damn head. I mean, it’s not like it’s a constant source of pollution or anything. Or that it’s a very hot commodity all over the world going to waste. One that’s soon to run out, to boot. So it’s about time for someone to finally close down this fire, once and for all.
GATEWAY TO HELL NOW A TOURIST DESTINATION AFTER BURNING OVER 50 LONG YEARS
So no, it’s not literally a hell mouth, which some of you may remember from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Well ok, that’s a fictional literal reference. But regardless, this thing looks just as awful as it is, that’s how it got the name Gateway to Hell. Located in the Karakum Desert (which I had to look up), the Gateway to Hell has been around so long, been awful for so long, that it has even become a tourist destination. In Turkmenistan! Not to disparage the country, but do you know anyone who has ever visited? But this past week, those tourism dollars clearly don’t matter all that much after President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov vowed to do more to put out the fire.
CAN THEY CLOSE THE GATEWAY TO HELL AFTER EARLIER FAILURES? ONLY GOD KNOWS
The Gateway to hell is about 200 feet wide and over 65 feet deep. And that appalling scale is the very reason why this has been burning for so long, wasting a natural resource that the market needs and creating massive pollution in the local area. But President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has tried to end this disaster before, with no success back in 2010. Oh, yeah, how did it start? An accident, of course. And miserable misjudgment. The Soviets way back in the day started the fire themselves to burn off dangerous gases. Clearly, they had no idea just how much was there, over half a century ago!
Gateway to Hell, indeed.