In this day and age, people have been continuously talking about how important it is that we keep our environment and mother nature clean. They talk about how we need to stop littering the ground with plastic bags, plastic cans, boxes, cigarettes, and other trash.

They talk about how we need to start recycling and sorting through paper and plastic. We need to walk more, to bike more, and to eat more organically. We need to be better at respecting our planet in general.

As sick as some people may be of the speeches, they may be right more than they’re wrong.

When you really take a look at what goes on in other parts of the world, you begin to see how much worse people have it. Forget about things like money, jobs, etc. Look and think about how their land is.

Not only theirs, but ours as well. Just like everyone else, we live in an environment that used to be clean, but is now incredibly dirty. It’s filled with not only trash, but also lots of bad chemicals and toxins because of things that are both our fault and out of our control.

What happens when we let our planet and mother nature go awry is people and animals get hurt, ill, and even worse, killed. Thousands and millions of people end up with numerous illnesses and diseases due to living in a place filled with toxic sewage. Some of them don’t even get the chance to try to survive them. When you learn about these events, you start to realize just how important it is to keep our world a safe place to live in and to have our future children in.

In this article, we’ll be talking about nine of the most polluted, poisonous, toxic, and contaminated places on the earth with one bonus city that has actually made significant improvement since it was first placed on the list.

10. Vapi, India

most pollutioned places on earthThis place makes the last place in the list since it was once a very polluted area, but recently, things have been improving. Illegal dumping of toxic waste has improved significantly and people are working to clean up what was once one of the worst polluted cities in the world.

Unlike the other cities, the drinking water in Vapi is very clean and anyone who drinks it will not run into any potential health issues. The roads are much cleaner than they were before as the open gutters are now sealed and beautiful plants such as trees and flowering shrubs cover the sides.

The Common Effluent Treatment Plant continues to stay upgraded on a regular basis and improves its performance regularly. The planet makes sure all of its metals are managed properly. Due to the fact that the quality of environmental life is vastly improving, Vapi, India, located in Asia, has been taken off the most polluted places list.

9. Kabwe, Zambia

most polluted places on the earthDue to lead mining and processing, cadmium and lead pollution had affected the lives of 255,000 people in Kabwe, Zambia, located in southern Africa. Zinc and lead had been discovered in the area in 1902. The mining had continued throughout the years until 1944 and nobody had ever thought about the possible complications that would come from doing so.

Since operations deceased in 1944, the place is still in bad shape. The city continues to be contaminated by lead dust in the soil and metals in the water. The blood concentrations found in children is so high and has the ability to be fatal. The kids who play in the sand and the young men who search the mines for scrap metal are the most prone to being poisoned by lead.

8. Chernobyl, Ukraine

When the numbers first dropped, it was said that over five million people have been affected by the pollution in Chernobyl, Ukraine, also located in Europe. Now, it seems that nobody has come to a consensus and the true number is unknown.

Regardless, Chernobyl is a very toxic city containing lots of radiation since April 26, 1986 after testing went down in a plant and reckless testing caused a fiery meltdown.

The amount of radiation was more than the two atom bombs that were dropped on top of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan by the United States. Fortunately, the majority of radioactivity was kept inside the side. Unfortunately, not all of it was.

Since the radiation was released, over four thousand cases of thyroid cancer had been diagnosed to children Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Most of the children that were affected were fourteen years of age and younger.

7. Norilsk, Russia

nickel polluted places on the earthAir pollution caused by the mini and processing of major nickel affected around 134,000 people in Norilsk, Russia. The quality of life in Norilsk plummeted ever since a slave labour camp was founded in 1935. What the city’s citizens come home to now is about four million tons of metals such as arsenic, copper, lead, zinc, and more a year.

Norilsk Nickel is one of Russia’s number one producers and is the company that is responsible for the pollution taking place in the city. It’s in charge of ⅓ of the nickel deposits and produces a large portion of the cobalt, nickel, and platinum that is produced today.

Since the air quality is so bad, children have gotten sick with various ear, nose, and throat diseases. Those that lived near the copper plant were expectedly much more likely to become ill than those that lived farther out. 15.8% of the death of children were related to this tragedy. For living women, premature births and complications during a late-term pregnancy are very common.

6. Dzerzhinsk, Russia

Around 300,000 citizens of Dzerzhinsk, Russia, located in Europe, are affected by the pollution from chemicals and toxic byproducts such as sarin and VX gas that emerge from the chemical weapons manufacturing in the Cold War era.

The city was one of Russia’s most popular sites for producing chemical weapons during the Cold War. It was also the home of a leaded gasoline factory that produced TEL, a very powerful and harmful toxin. Nobody paid any attention to the possible effects all the production could cause and, in the end, nearly 300,000 tons of chemical waste was done away with incorrectly between the years of 1930 and 1988.

The water had started to turn into white sludge due to the all of the chemicals in the waste such as dioxins and phenol, which can cause acute poisoning and kill. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Dzerzhinsk is the most chemically polluted city in the entire world.

While most of the operations have shut down, it hasn’t done anything to improve the conditions. The groundwater has only gotten higher which threatens to release harmful toxins into the Oka river basin. This toxins include arsenic, lead, mercury, and more. The drinking water is incredibly toxic.

5. La Oroya, Peru

most polluted places on the earthAround an estimated amount of 35,000 citizens of La Oroya, Peru, located in South America, are being affected by the pollution caused by heavy metal mining and processing. Copper, lead, sulfur dioxide, and zinc are the types of pollutants that have poisoned the community.

99% of the children living in or around La Oroya have lead blood levels that are over the amount that they should be. It has been reported that even newborn babies were already being born with high blood lead levels that they received while still in the mother’s womb.

There have been no plans to clean up the lead, but soil contaminated by sulfur dioxide is currently being studied and a plan to clean it up has been put into place.

4. Sukinda, India

most polluted places on earthSukinda, India, also located in Asia, is just behind Linfen, China with about 2,600,000 people possibly being affected by the pollution going on. This area in the state of Orissa has been polluted by hexavalent chromium and other metals from chromite mines and processing things. Don’t know what that is? Hexavalent chromium is a heavy metal that  is used to produce stainless steel and for tanning leather.

Due to Sukinda being contaminated by so much of this hexavalent chromium, 60% of the drinking water in the area is actually poisoned by the heavy metal. People that work in the chromite mines are always exposed to the poisoned dust and water there and many have developed asthma and worse due to constantly being in that environment.

Almost 85% of the deaths in the mines have been due to diseases related to chromite. Women who have become pregnant have given birth to children with birth defects or, even worse, stillborns. Unfortunately, there are plenty of women who have actually ended up being infertile due to contamination.

3. Tianying, China

most polluted places on the earthTianying, China, located in the Anhui Province, is the second most polluted city in the country with 140,000 of its citizens possibly being affected. The source of the pollution is mining and processing. Lead and various heavy metals are the kinds of things polluting the area. This is no surprise as Tianying is known for being one of the biggest lead production bases in the country.

This city is one that doesn’t have a lot of pollution control and has a lot of operations that run illegally which is why there are so many reports of severe cases of lead poisoning in the area. Lots of residents, mostly children, suffer from lead poisoning and some of the effects from it have been shorter attention spans, brain damage, kidney failure, blindness, hearing loss, and other disabilities.

The State Environmental Protection Administration named Tianying one of the worst eight cities that have been contaminated with this poison. Once this happened, the administration ordered that all of the lead processing companies shut down until they addressed their problems and came up with a solution to fix them.

2. Linfen, China

Out of twenty of the dirtiest cities in the world, sixteen of them are Chinese cities. Sumgayit, Azerbaijan may be the first on our list, but this list is in alphabetical order and not in order of how badly polluted these places are.

Linfen, located in the Shanxi Province of the Republic of China in Asia, is polluted enough to affect three million people. The city is contaminated by coal and other particles due to the automobile and industrial emissions. To be more specific, this place has been polluted by arsenic, carbon monoxide (a silent and lethal chemical), lead, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and more.

Due to the city’s pollution being at high levels, the effects are extraordinary. Citizens have been diagnosed with illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. Young children have also been diagnosed with lead poisoning at high numbers. Lots of deaths have occurred as well.

The pollution is so bad that people have reported literally consuming and choking on coal dust at night as they walk around outside. The State Environmental Protection Administration has named Linfen as the worst polluted city and has the worst air quality in China.

1. Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

most polluted cities in the worldAs of September 2007, Sumgayit, Azerbaijan, located in Asia, is one of the most polluted places in the world. Around 275,000 citizens of Sumgayit are affected by this tragedy and they are polluted by oil, organic chemicals, and heavy metals such as mercury. All of these types of pollutants originated from industrial and petrochemical complexes.

Sumgayit was known for being a major industrial center for the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, constantly bragged about how he could make the environment a better place. Unfortunately, this city was the home of more than forty factories that manufactured agricultural and industrial chemicals. Every single year, around seventy to one hundred and twenty tons of harmful products such as aluminum, chlorine, detergent, pesticides, and synthetic rubbers.

Despite that fact that a large amount of these factories have stopped operating, all the pollution in Sumgayit still remains today. Nobody has taken any responsibility for the contamination or done anything to improve the quality of the environment there. Sewage and sludge contaminated with mercury continue to be dumped in the area today.

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