Radioactive elements that have been pulled out of the ground by humankind could easily destroy all life on Earth. (Why did we do it? you may very well ask.) Among them is Plutonium-239 which will still be half as strong — but still completely lethal — 24,000 years from now.
There are three “schedules” for chemicals developed for war. The worst, “Schedule 1” is considered to have few, if any, legitimate uses — even for war. It’s believed that the US and the USSR, just to name two countries, have enough of these chemicals stored to kill substantial numbers, perhaps everyone on Earth.
The worst pathogens are bacteria such as Campylobacter in poultry, costing a whopping $1.3 billion per year.
In terms of a pollutant that humans are creating and can do something about, the “reactive free radicals CI and CIO” which form the ozone hole, caused, for example by CFCs, which previously were widely used to pressure common spray cans, could be considered very bad. If the ozone hole had been allowed to continue to grow, probably all life on Earth would have ended.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few other things that humans have developed that could potentially be called the “worst”. We’ve really made a mess of things. It’s unpleasant, but obviously these things shouldn’t be forgotten in the big picture of trying to clean up the planet.
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