The World's 10 Most Polluted Places
The Blacksmith Institute, an NGO that works to solve pollution problems in the developing world, has released its second annual list of the World's Most Polluted Places. This year's list includes two sites each in China, India and Russia, and one site in Azerbaijan, Peru, Zambia and Ukraine. Many of the sites' pollution comes from mining of heavy metals like lead and chromium; all of the sites pose serious threats to human health and the environment.
In La Oroya, Peru, for example, 99% of children living near the local heavy metal mining and processing industries have blood lead levels that exceed acceptable limits, according to studies carried out by the Director General of Environmental Health in Peru.
The individual cases are grim, but Blacksmith tempers the news with its Success Stories, which demonstrate how pressure to clean up pollution can yield great results. In recent years, Blacksmith has successfully precipitated the closings of lead smelters and the banning of leaded gasoline, and funded soil remediation, pesticide removal and water treatment plants in dozens of countries around the world. We applaud Blacksmith's great work, and hope this year's most polluted places see extensive clean-up in the coming months.