Chernobyl writer urges Instagram users to respect site after they travel to take lewd selfies

Helena Horton
An example of the pictures taken at the site

The writer of hit television programme Chernobyl has urged Instagram users to stop taking lewd and inappropriate selfies at the site of the disaster.

In the wake of the popularity of the show, tourists have flocked to the nuclear disaster site — with some taking the opportunity to strike "disrespectful" poses in photographs, and even strip to their underwear.

One picture shows a woman letting a hazard suit fall to her waist, exposing her bra as she flicks her hair in the wind. Another shows a woman dressed as a nuclear scientist posing in the middle of the control room of the destroyed unit 4 of the Chernobyl power plant.

Many others have taken selfies while holding Geiger counters, and one picture shows a young woman posing in an abandoned bus.

In the weeks following the explosion in 1986, 29 firefighters and power plant workers died of acute radiation syndrome, and two of injuries. 

The programme highlights that cancer rates spiked dramatically across Ukraine and Belarus in the aftermath, and that the estimate of total deaths caused by the disaster ranges from 4,000-93,000.  

Reports suggest that tourism to the area has surged by up to 40 per cent since the release of the five-part HBO series.

However, the show's screenwriter Craig Mazin has said some are not treating the site with the respect it deserves.

He tweeted: "It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion.

"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."

The exclusion zone has been open for tourists since the late 1990s, but has become increasingly popular as a holiday destination.

The abandoned buildings and vehicles as well as the fairground are popular with urban explorers, and wildlife enthusiasts go to see the wide array of animals that have made the abandoned area their home.

Those who visit are often given radiation counters and protective clothing, and are screened for radiation exposure on entry and exit.

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