Pollution is one of the great problems in the world today and, unfortunately, there are places in the world with a pollution rate that exceeds all limits. The images and data are so devastating that we can hardly believe that sites with such levels of chemicals and waste still exist.
For years the Blacksmith Institute, an American NGO that fights to make the world a less polluted place, has published the ten most polluted places in the world. A sad reality about which, however, it is necessary to report so that awareness increases globally. Normally, these dirty and polluted places that affect the entire planet are like this due to the impact of pollutants of industrial origin, mostly factories. By continent, Southeast Asia and Black Africa are the least clean and, by country, Russia and Indonesia take the cake.
- The city of Agbogbloshie in Ghana
- Dzerjinsk, in Russia
- The Niger River Delta, Nigeria
- The Citarum River in Indonesia
- Chernobyl, Ukraine
- Norilsk, Russia
- The Matanza river, Argentina
- Kalimantan, en Indonesia
- Hazaribgh, Bangladesh
- Kabwe, en Zambia
- Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia
- Fukushima, in Japan
The town of Agbogbloshie in Ghana
Without a doubt, one of the saddest places on the planet . It is often called “the garbage of the West” and that is where waste (especially electronic) from developed countries usually ends up. This small town is nothing more than a region on the outskirts of Accra, the capital of Ghana, and an area that is used as a dump. There you can find mountains of dirt and debris, such as all kinds of electrical appliances and electronic equipment, with an estimated amount of 192,000 tons per year. The populationwho lives there tries to earn some money by searching among the devices that can be repaired or recovered. The 40,000 people who live in this area drawn by mountains of garbage suffer daily emissions of copper particles in the air and on the ground that are generated by said waste.
Dzerjinsk, in Russia
For many years, Dzerjinsk was the capital of the Soviet chemical industry. It was also used by the military to produce and experiment with all kinds of chemical weapons. In fifty years, more than 300,000 tons of chemical waste had been dumped in the fields and forests. In this region, where 245,000 inhabitants still live today, there are still highly polluting factories in operation. The levels of dioxide in the air are millions of times higher than the normal levels that we have in Europe. Due to pollution in this area, life expectancy has been reduced to 47 years for men and 42 years for women.
The Niger River Delta, Nigeria
Surely when, as students, we tried to locate the Niger River on the map, we did not imagine the ecological tragedy that it kept in its delta. This part of the river of no less than 70,000 square kilometers, in which millions of people live, is a place of oil exploitation. There is so much activity in that area that it is exploited without control to obtain up to 2 million barrels per day . This practice causes the waste and dirt from the pipes to enter the waters of the Niger River and that the people who drink that water contract serious diseases. Furthermore, the food security of that region is 60% less secure than ours.
The Citarum River in Indonesia
It is so dirty that, when we see the images, it is hard to think that under all that garbage there is really a river. There are parts that are completely covered with waste , in addition to many pipes that directly discharge the waste into the water. In addition, the inhabitants who live near the river have a habit of throwing all their waste into it. Fortunately, a program is already underway to decontaminate that area .
Surely this name sounds familiar to all of us and it does not bring us happy thoughts. This is how the area called the nuclear disaster of April 1986, one of the largest in history, which had to evacuate the 115,000 people who were within a radius of 15 kilometers. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not rule out that Chernobyl is the origin of 4,000 types of cancers and other diseases such as the thyroid. Radiation in this area continues to threaten people, which is why this place in Ukraine that we would not like to visit often ranks number 1 on the list of the most polluted places in the world .
This Russian city located north of the Polar Circle has hosted one of the largest mining centers in the world, specialized in the extraction of nickel. More than 500 tons of copper and nickel oxides and up to 2 million tons of sulfur dioxide are expelled annually in Norilsk. The life expectancy for the people who work in this mine is 10 years lower than in the rest of the country: around 50 years.
The Matanza river, Argentina
In the province of Buenos Aires, this river that crosses 14 municipalities for 60 kilometers is surrounded by factories of highly chemical products. What do you do with all this waste? They throw themselves into the river. This means that not only the Matanza river is polluted, but the pollution can reach the ocean. In addition, most of the 20,000 inhabitants of that region live in subhuman conditions due to the very high pollution and the behavior of the manufacturers.
Kalimantan, en Indonesia
Kalimantan is a region in southern Indonesia known for its titanic artisan and illegal farms. To carry them out, highly polluting techniques are used, which release enormous amounts of mercury into the atmosphere, which is demonstrated by the fact that mercury rates are twice as high as the rest of the country. After the discovery of gold mines, such damage was caused to the planet that it was one of the most extensive ecological disasters that continues to last after so many years. In 2013, the first convention to combat such mercury emissions was signed.
Hazarigbah, a region of Dhaka, the economic center of Bangladesh, produces 22,000 cubic meters of toxic products daily that end up in the river that runs through the city, the Buriganga. These products are highly carcinogenic and everyone is exposed, especially the 185,000 people who reside in the region.
Kabwe, en Zambia
This region in Zambia has always been a place of land exploitation, where there were hundreds of zinc mines, among other materials. It is true that these mines were closed in 1994, but contamination still exists and the risk of contracting serious diseases is still very high in this region of the world.
Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia
Pollution is not only present in small regions, there is also a lot of pollution in capitals for which there are currently no solution projects. One of the world’s most polluted capitals is Ulan-Bator, in Mongolia. Basically for the use of coal stoves and, of course, for all the thermal power plants in the city. The situation in this part of the world is very alarming.
Fukushima, in Japan
March 11, 2011 was a black day for ecology, on that date an accident took place at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, a nuclear catastrophe with terrible consequences for the health of the population. However, experts say that it is still too early to assess the seriousness of the situation and to measure the real impact of radioactivity on the population. Two years after the tragedy, WHO reports estimated that the risk of contracting cancer for young people in the region would increase by 70%, since young people are the most sensitive to radiation . This region will likely top the list of the most polluted places in the world for many years to come.
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