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The World's Top 10 Worst Pollution Problems

From the residue of mining to untreated sewage, the world is grappling with a host of environmental problems
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PESKY PESTICIDES

Agricultural toxins, such as DDT, are among the threats in a longer list of pollution problems, including coal power plants and oil refineries as well as industrial contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.....[ More ]

GETTING THE LEAD OUT

Workers in the developing world, such as this one in Kenya, sort through used lead-acid car batteries, which are then melted down to extract the lead, poisoning the workers, their families and the local environment.....[ More ]

SULLIED SKIES

Uncontrolled emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and other pollutants from industry and vehicles leads to pollution clouds over cities, like this haze hovering over Russia's Stalin-era industrial showcase, Magnitogorosk.....[ More ]

OPEN SEWER

This sewer runs right through a dump and into a small town in the African country of Guinea. Residents of this town are among the at least 2.6 billion people worldwide who have no access to sanitation, according to the World Health Organization.....[ More ]

INDUSTRIAL WASTE

There is very little, if any, oversight of La Oroya mine in Peru, which allows U.S. owner--the Saint Louis–based Doe Run mining company--to extract lead, copper and zinc without safeguards, poisoning local miners and their families.....[ More ]

DEVIL'S BREW

Chromium is a heavy metal used in tanning hides and making stainless steel. It also causes blistering and, in extreme cases, lung cancer and kidney failure.....[ More ]

DEFILED DRINK

Everything from the pesticides used in agriculture to mining waste ends up in groundwater, which is all that's available to local residents.....[ More ]

GOLD'S HIGH PRICE

Small-scale gold miners, like this man in Thailand, use toxic mercury to extract the gold from dirt. Heating the combined elements with a blowtorch drives off the mercury--polluting the local and global environment--and leaves gold nuggets behind.....[ More ]

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