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
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
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
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
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
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
13 - Riachuelo Basin, Argentina
The Riachuelo Basin is a waterway whose name is synonymous with
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
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.