by Site Owner
May 31, 2010
from SecondSun Website




As the world's population balloons to almost 7 billion, it's become more and more difficult to find anywhere on Earth unaffected by man-made pollution and development, and far too often it takes things going really wrong before people take action to keep our planet clean.


So here's a list that might help to motivate: The 15 most polluted places in the world.

1 - The Citarum River, Indonesia:

The Citarum has been called the world's most polluted river. Around five million people live in the river's basin, and most of them rely on its flow for their water supply.




2 - Chernobyl, Ukraine

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.




3 - Linfen, China

Linfen has more air pollution than any other city in the world.


Sitting at the heart of China's coal belt, smog and soot from industrial pollutants and automobiles blacken the air at all hours. It is said that if you hang your laundry here, it will turn black before it dries.




4 - The North Pacific Gyre

An island of trash twice the size of Texas floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, circulated by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The trash, which is mostly made up of plastic debris, floats as deep as 30 feet below the surface.




5 - Rondônia, Brazil

Rondônia is a state in northwest Brazil which, along with the states of Mato Grosso and Pará, is one of the most deforested regions of the Amazon rain forest.


Thousands of acres of forest have been slashed and burned here, mostly to make room for cattle ranching.




6 - 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.





7 - 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.





8 - 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.





9 - Haiti

The nation of Haiti was once 60 percent covered in forest.


Today, only 2 percent of the country still has standing trees. This picture shows an aerial of the border between Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right).


Haiti has cleared almost every tree right up to its borders. And with the recent devastating earthquake, the island's environmental situation has worsened.





10 - 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.





11 - 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.





12 - 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.





13 - Riachuelo Basin, Argentina

The Riachuelo Basin is a waterway whose name is synonymous with pollution.


More than 3,500 factories operate along the banks of the river, a landscape that also includes 13 slums, numerous illegal sewage pipes running directly into the river, and 42 open garbage dumps.





14 - Vapi, India

Sitting at the southern end of a 400-kilometer-long belt of industrial estates, the town of Vapi is a dumping place for chemicals of every kind. Levels of mercury in the groundwater are 96 times higher than safety levels, and heavy metals are present in the air and the local produce.





15 - 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.






Ever throw a soda bottle out your window while driving? Could you imagine if everyone threw out a single bottle, every year? It seems like nothing until you look at the bigger picture.


I personally feel like that is part of the problem in the world, in any issue, not just the environment.

We can't see the bigger picture sometimes.