The Most Polluted City in the World: Linfen, China

smog over Suzhou

orangeandmilk / Flickr 

Linfen, China, which was called the most polluted city in the world by the World Bank, was, only twenty years ago, known as "the Modern Fruit and Flower Town" of the Shanxi Province. That was before the coal plants and factories moved in.

Today Linfen is choked with toxic and incredible dense air. The mountains ringing the valley in which Linfen sits fade away into the thick industrial smog. Those same mountains conspire to trap the smog so there's very little turnover of the air. Coal-burning power plants, factories smokestacks, and farmers dumping pesticides on their crops all combine to make for polluted air and water and for sicker residents.

VBS, one of my favorite news doc sites, made a great piece about Linfen that you should watch.

According to Greenpeace China's Ailun Yang, over half the rivers, one-third of all lakes, and 80-90% of the groundwater are polluted in China. 16 of the 20 of the world's most polluted cities are in China. How they react and solve their enormous pollution problem will have a huge impact on the world and on our nation. Linfen is a good city to watch.