Pollution Kills

The Top 10 Worst Polluted Places on Earth

From Larry West,
Your Guide to Environmental Issues.
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Report Raises Alarm about Global Pollution and Points to Solutions

More than 10 million people in eight different countries are at serious risk for cancer, respiratory diseases, and premature death because they live in the 10 most polluted places on Earth, according to a report by the Blacksmith Institute, a nonprofit organization that works to identify and solve specific environmental problems worldwide.

Top 10 Worst Polluted Places Remote but Toxic
Chernobyl in Ukraine, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident to date, is the best known place on the list. The other places are unknown to most people, and located far from major cities and populations centers, yet 10 million people either suffer or risk serious health effects because of environmental problems ranging from lead contamination to radiation.

“Living in a town with serious pollution is like living under a death sentence,” the report says.

-John Belleau


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“If the damage does not come from immediate poisoning, then cancers, lung infections, mental retardation, are likely outcomes.”

“There are some towns where life expectancy approaches medieval rates, where birth defects are the norm not the exception,” the report continues. “In other places children’s asthma rates are measured above 90 percent, or mental retardation is endemic. In these places, life expectancy may be half that of the richest nations. The great suffering of these communities compounds the tragedy of so few years on earth.”

Top 10 Worst Polluted Sites Serve as Examples of Widespread Problems
Russia leads the list of eight nations, with three of the 10 worst polluted sites. Other sites were chosen because they are examples of problems found in many places around the world. For example, Haina, Dominican Republic has severe lead contamination—a problem that is common in many poor countries. Linfen, China is just one of several Chinese cities choking on industrial air pollution. And Ranipet, India is a nasty example of serious groundwater pollution by heavy metals.

The Top 10 Worst Polluted Places
The Top 10 worst polluted places in the world are:

  1. Chernobyl, Ukraine
  2. Dzerzhinsk, Russia
  3. Haina, Dominican Republic
  4. Kabwe, Zambia
  5. La Oroya, Peru
  6. Linfen, China
  7. Maiuu Suu, Kyrgyzstan
  8. Norilsk, Russia
  9. Ranipet, India
  10. Rudnaya Pristan/Dalnegorsk, Russia

Choosing the Top 10 Worst Polluted Places
The Top 10 worst polluted places were chosen by the Blacksmith Institute’s Technical Advisory Board from a list of 35 polluted places that had been narrowed from 300 polluted places identified by the Institute or nominated by people worldwide. The Technical Advisory Board includes experts from Johns Hopkins, Hunter College, Harvard University, IIT India, the University of Idaho, Mount Sinai Hospital, and leaders of major international environmental remediation companies.

Solving Global Pollution Problems
According to the report, “there are potential remedies for these sites. Problems like this have been solved over the years in the developed world, and we have the capacity and the technology to spread our experience to our afflicted neighbors.”

“The most important thing is to achieve some practical progress in dealing with these polluted places,” says Dave Hanrahan, chief of global operations for the Blacksmith Institute. “There is a lot of good work being done in understanding the problems and in identifying possible approaches. Our goal is to instill a sense of urgency about tackling these priority sites.”

Read the full report: The World’s Worst Polluted Places: The Top 10 [PDF]

2 Responses to Pollution Kills

  1. Godofredo Arauzo says:

    The years 2006 and 2007 the Blacksmith Institute have accomplished a research about the cities more contaminated to the world and arrived to the conclusion that the Oroya city was between the 10 cities more polluted of the world and, the environment Graffiti 2008 said that is between five more pollute too to the world and the 2008 Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland say that Oroya is between the most polluted of the world. This qualifications are benevolents; according to my researchs to many years who I am publishing, the Oroya city is the more polluted to Peru, Latin America and of the world and every day is being more polluted: lead in blood in children in the Ancient Oroya in average 53.7 ug/dl ( DIGESA 1999); pregnancies women 39.49 ig/dl ( UNES 2000), new borns children 19.06 ug/dl, puerperal 319 ug/100 grams/placenta ( Castro 2003) and workers 50 ug/dl ( Doe Run 2003).Top lead in blood accepted 10 ug/dl; present day is 0 ug/dl ( Pediatric of Academy to USA)
    When the Oroya city was in hands to the CentroMin eliminated only by the upper chimney to 167.500 meters, in average by day in tons: sulfur dioxide 1000, lead 2500, arsenic 2500, cadmium 40, particulate matter 50 and so on, more 24,000 to toxis gas product to the incomplete combustion of the coal, without count it is eliminated by industrial incinerator y by the 97 smalls chimneys, it is estimated 15,000; overall 45,000 tons for day (PAMA . El Complejo Metalúrgico de la Oroya, 1996); other research say that by this chimney only eliminate overall 119¨917,440 tons too every day to a velocity to 8.7 meters by second ( Chuquimantari C. Yauli-La Oroya Minería y Ciudades Empresas Pág. 57, 1992)
    Doe Run envoy every three months the concentrations of the heavy metals to the Ministry to the Energy and Mines and with the sames datums Ceverstav have demostrated the pollution was increased; for example the sulfur dioxide it have increased in near to 300 %, by increment to the production (Cederstav. La Oroya no Espera 2002
    The American Association to the Environment say that the environmental quality to the Oroya it is serious deteriorated since that Doe Run was owner and the same enterprise
    declared that the concentrations of the heavy metals gas it is ncreased in the air: lead 1160 %, cadmium 1990 % and arsenic 6006 % (Portugal, et al. Los Humos de Doe Run 2003)

  2. I noticed that this is not the first time you mention the topic. Why have you decided to touch it again?

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