The 15 most toxic places to live

Posted by Trish Riley, October 19, 2009

Whenever I move, I’ve learned to look for a place that’s not near a Superfund site, a landfill, prison, power or industrial plant. Here is a stunning article of the 15 most polluted places in the world. Note how each has been devastated by businesses gone amok, truly sacrificing health and safety in the name of profits. I’ve highlighted just a few, but be sure to follow the link to the full display. It is enlightening.

Chernobyl, Ukraine

Yamuna River, India

The Yamuna is the largest tributary of the Ganges River. Where it flows through Delhi, it’s estimated that 58 percent of the city’s waste gets dumped straight into the river. Millions of Indians still rely on these murky, sewage-filled waters for washing, waste disposal and drinking water.

La Oroya, Peru

La Oroya is a soot-covered mining town in the Peruvian Andes. Ninety-nine percent of the children who live here have blood levels that exceed acceptable limits for lead poisoning, which can be directly attributed to an American-owned smelter that has been polluting the city since 1922.

Lake Karachay, Russia

According to a report by the Worldwatch Institute on nuclear waste, Karachay is the most polluted spot on Earth. It was used by the Soviet Union as a nuclear dumping site, and now the radiation level here is so high that it’s sufficient to give a lethal dose after just an hour of exposure.

Kabwe, Zambia

Lead and cadmium soak the hills of Kabwe after decades of mining and processing. Children here have lead concentrations five to 10 times the permissible U.S. Environmental Protection Agency levels, and the ground is so contaminated that nothing can be grown.

Appalachia, West Virginia

Mountaintop removal mining is one of the world’s most environmentally destructive practices, and it is most associated with coal mining in West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. Whole mountaintops are removed to get to the coal, which increases erosion and runoff thick with pollutants, poisoning streams and rivers throughout the region.

Dzerzhinsk, Russia

The Guinness Book of World Records has named Dzerzhinsk the most chemically polluted city on Earth, and in 2003 its death rate exceeded its birth rate by 260 percent. More than 300,000 tons of chemical waste were improperly dumped here between 1930 and 1998.

Earth’s orbit

Believe it or not, even space contains copious amounts of pollution. An estimated 4 million pounds of space debris — nuts, bolts, metal and carbon, even whole spacecraft — currently orbit the Earth, threatening satellites, communication and even the lives of our astronauts.

via The 15 most toxic places to live | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

Chernobyl is the town in northern Ukraine home to the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. Once home to more than 14,000 residents, the town remains mostly uninhabited and unsafe today due to extensive radioactive contamination.