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The World's 10 Most Polluted Places [Slide Show]

The list includes locations suffering from toxic pollution as a result of everything from e-waste to chemical weapons

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NORILSK, RUSSIA:

This city above the Arctic Circle retains the world's largest metal smelting complex and, therefore, it's place on this list due to terrible air pollution. As a result of the haze, trees do not grow within 30 kilometers of the city, founded only in the 1930s.....[ More ]

NIGER RIVER DELTA, NIGERIA:

The global addiction to oil has turned the Niger River Delta into a sacrifice zone. This densely populated region of roughly 70,000 square kilometers has been polluted with petroleum since the 1950s, and at least 240,000 barrels of crude oil have been spilled into the delta each year, with attendant impacts on fishing, the ability to grow crops in the swamplands and human health.....[ More ]

RIO MATANZA–RIACHUELO, ARGENTINA:

 This 60-kilometer-long river basin in Buenos Aires is home to at least 15,000 small industries that pollute the river. As a result, soil along the banks hosts high concentrations of heavy metals.....[ More ]

KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA:

Here's how millions of small-scale miners get gold around the world: Liquid mercury is added to ore; the mercury forms an amalgam with the gold that is then burned off, releasing mercury into the air as small quantities of pure gold are left behind.....[ More ]

KABWE, ZAMBIA:

The second largest city in this southern African country was home to one of the continent's largest lead smelters as well as ubiquitous lead mines that have contaminated the entire city in lead dust.....[ More ]

HAZARIBAGH, BANGLADESH:

Roughly 90 percent of the 270 registered tanneries in the country cluster in this neighborhood of Dhaka on roughly 25 hectares of land. Each day the tanneries dump some 22,000 cubic liters of toxic waste, including carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, into the main river, the Buriganga.....[ More ]

DZERZHINSK, RUSSIA:

This city of 245,000 has been in the top 10 since 2006—and was dubbed the most chemically polluted city in the world by Guinness World Records in 2011—boasting a "white sea" in the middle of town that is the residue of Soviet-era chemical manufacturing.....[ More ]

CITARUM RIVER, INDONESIA:

At least nine million people live in the Citarum River Basin, which covers 13,000 square kilometers of the island of Java. More than 2,000 factories line the waterway, which also provides water for drinking and bathing as well as rice irrigation.....[ More ]

CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE:

Despite the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan, Chernobyl remains the world's worst civilian nuclear accident. Nearly 30 years later 150,000 square kilometers of land remain contaminated with various radioactive isotopes such as cesium 137 or plutonium that were released when the reactor exploded, putting as many as 10 million people at risk.....[ More ]

AGBOGBLOSHIE, GHANA:

Recovering precious metals and other components of computers and electronic devices accounts for the bulk of the pollution at this dump in the city of Ghana. For example, recyclers burn off the plastic sheathing on copper cables and wires, often using locally available fuels like Styrofoam.....[ More ]

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