Monday, November 08, 2010

World's Most Polluted Places !!

This is different from the world's polluted cities. The city pollution is different, most often clubbed with substantial emissions from the vehicle exhaust and dust. The list below is linked to coal consumption, industries, and how dirty it can get.

link to the original article and pictures, visit the SUN, November 6th, 2010


CHOKING smog, fume-filled skies and toxic soil - a deadly cocktail of pollutants alien to most Westerners. But this is the grim reality in Cherepovets, Russia, one of the world's most polluted cities and home to dozens of factories and their "chimneys of hell".

This week United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, with more than half the planet's population in towns and cities, the world was living in an "urban century". And at a talk in Nanjing University, Jiangsu, he warned: "Seven of the world's ten most polluted cities are in China. Your environmental footprint is growing daily." Industrial pollution has made cancer China's top killer. Most of its major cities are covered in a grey shroud as more than 60 per cent of its energy comes from coal - the dirtiest fossil fuel. A 2007 World Bank study said each year 460,000 Chinese die prematurely from breathing polluted air and drinking toxic water.

Besides Cherepovets - and in no particular order - below we list ten of the world's dirtiest cities.

LINFEN, CHINA: In this coal-fed city, said to be the most polluted place in the world, birth defects are nearly 30 times the worldwide average. Homeowners refuse to hang out their washing because it will be blackened by lunchtime. Huge coal mines blanket the city in coal dust. Air pollution is at acceptable levels for just 15 days a year. Gas-fired heating has now been installed for 85 per cent of Linfen's four million population in a desperate attempt to improve the city's choking air.

DZERZHINSK, RUSSIA: Home to the Russian chemicals industry, for years the city was the main centre for making chemical weapons. City authorities estimate nearly 300,000 tonnes of chemical waste were dumped in the city since the Fifties, including deadly sarin, hydrogen cyanide and lead. One test of water contamination has been registered at 17million times the safe limit. Norilsk ... this Russian city is covered in smog as a result of the metal smelting complex Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images Women in the city have a life expectancy of 47 years and men just 42 years - the lowest in the world.

YANGQUAN, CHINA: A rapidly developing industrial city in the country's Shanxi province. Levels of air pollution are rated "extremely high" in the city which is hugely reliant on coal. The burning of slag heaps and the use of boilers in winter has also caused choking levels of sulphur dioxide.

DATONG, CHINA: Considered to be the Chinese coal capital, air pollution is often so bad that the sky is dark at noon when lunchtime traffic begins driving through the smog with headlights on.

SHIZUISHAN, CHINA: It was once described as the best place to make a film about the end of the world. The Chinese government blacklisted the city for pollution problems and told city authorities to shut down the worst polluting industrial plants in 2004. While considerable improvements have been made, there is still much work to do. La Oroya ... this Peruvian city is affected by lead, zinc, copper and sulphur dioxide pollution Martin Mejia

LA OROYA, PERU: A city of 35,000 people, La Oroya residents have been affected by lead, zinc, copper and sulphur dioxide pollution from the vast metal mining and processing in this area. Time magazine claimed that 99 per cent of the mining town's children have blood levels that show high exposure to chemicals. It was named on the reputable Blacksmith Report as one of the world's most polluted places - although five years of clean-up is beginning to have an effect.

XIANYANG, CHINA: The city was fined for polluting part of the Yellow River this year and is often covered by a thick blanket of dust and "heavy metal" pollution on the surface of its streets.

LUOYANG, CHINA: One of China's biggest transport hubs, the city is fighting its reputation for heavy pollution. Luoyang was listed as one of the most polluted cities in the world in 2003 when its air quality reached required standards for only 94 days in the year. The main pollutants were vehicle emissions, coal burning and industrial fumes.

CHANGSHA, CHINA: 2,000 authorities in the US banned zinc-based fertilizer imports from China after a Changsha factory was reported to have been discharging toxic industrial waste into streams and water courses that villagers used to irrigate their crops. Environmental pollution in Changsha has also become a serious problem, with the rapid increase in the number of car-owners.

NORILSK, RUSSIA: Norilsk, above the Arctic Circle, is home to the world's largest metal smelting complex and consequently is covered by terrible smog. Richard Fuller, of the Blacksmith Institute - an American environmental organisation that ranked the city amongst the worst in the world in 2007 - says: "There is so much pollution going into the air from this place that there is no living piece of grass or shrub within 30 kilo-meters of the city."

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