The 10 cities of the world that need to be cleaned up. Polluted cities on the planet

Top 10 most polluted places on the planet

99% of scientists agree that the climate on Earth is changing at an enormous rate, faster than they can analyze it. To the remaining percentage of scientists, oil and other industrial companies pay generous subsidies to cover up the embarrassing effects of their activities. Carbon dioxide is only one of the many causes of global climate change. Methane, about 17 times more toxic than carbon dioxide, is a far more serious problem.

As glaciers in the oceans melt, methane, which has been hidden in them for millions of years in the form of frozen plants, is produced. If all of Greenland’s 2.3 cubic kilometers of glaciers were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 7.2 meters, and a hundred of the world’s most populous cities would be completely under water. It is not yet known how long it will take for the world’s second largest glacier to melt, but the worst thing is that the largest glacier, Antarctica, has already begun to melt.

In recent years, huge amounts of hazardous waste have entered the earth’s atmosphere. Industry and fuel companies are destroying natural resources, cutting down forests, and releasing deadly substances into the atmosphere. There are places on Earth that nothing seems to help anymore, only time.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet - BigPicture.com

Photo: Top 10 most environmentally dirty places on the planet #2 - BigPicture.co.uk

10. Agbogbloshi, Ghana – an electronic waste dump.

Most of the electronics we throw away are likely to end up in a huge, ever-burning landfill in Ghana. The mercury content here is terrifying, 45 times higher than what is allowed in the United States. More than 250,000 Ghanaians live in health and life-threatening conditions. Especially those whose job it is to pick through this landfill looking for recyclable metals.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #3 - BigPicture.ru

9. Norilsk, Russia – mines and metallurgy.

Once a camp for the enemies of the people, it is now the second largest city above the Arctic Circle. The first mines were here in the 1930s, when nobody thought about ecology. Here is the world’s largest complex for melting heavy metals, which emits about two million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Miners in Norilsk live ten years less than the world average. It is one of the most polluted places in Russia: even the snow has a sulfur taste and a black color. Sulfur dioxide emissions cause diseases such as lung cancer.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #4 - BigPicture.ru

8. The Niger Delta, Nigeria – oil spills.

About two million barrels of oil are pumped out of this area every day. About 240,000 barrels enter the Niger Delta. From 1976 to 2001, there were approximately seven thousand oil spills in the river, and much of this oil was never recovered. The spills have severely polluted the air, resulting in carcinogens such as polycyclic hydrocarbons. A 2013 study estimated that pollution from the spill had a huge impact on cereal crops, leading to a 24 percent increase in digestive disorders in children. Other effects of the oil spill also include cancer and infertility.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #5 - BigPicture.ru

7. Matanza Riachuelo, Argentina – industrial pollution.

Some 15,000 companies are dumping toxic waste directly into the Matanza-Riachuelo River, which runs through the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. The people who live there have almost no sources of clean drinking water. There is a high rate of diarrhea, cancer and respiratory diseases, which reaches 60% among the 20,000 people who live on the banks of the river.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #6 - BigPicture.ru

6. Hazaribagh, Bangladesh – tannery.

About 95% of the registered tanneries in Bangladesh are in Hazaribagh, a district in the capital Dhaka. Here they use outdated and banned methods of leather dressing in other countries, not to mention the fact that all these factories emit about 22,000 cubic liters of toxic chemicals into the largest river. The hexavalent chromium in this waste causes cancer. Residents have to put up with high rates of respiratory and skin diseases, as well as acid burns, nausea, dizziness and itching.

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Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #7 - BigPicture.ru

5. Chitarum River Valley, Indonesia – industrial and domestic pollution.

Mercury levels in the river are more than a thousand times higher than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. Additional studies have revealed extremely high levels of toxic metals, including manganese, iron and aluminum. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a city of 10 million people. The Chitarum River valley is covered with a large variety of toxic garbage – industrial and household – that is dumped directly into the river waters. Fortunately, the authorities have taken the initiative to clean up the river, which will be funded by a $500 million loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #8 - BigPicture.ru

4. Dzerzhinsk, Russia – chemical production.

300,000 tons of hazardous chemical wastes were released in and around the city from 1930 to 1998. In 2007, Dzerzhinsk entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most poisonous city on the planet. Water samples showed levels of phenols and dioxins thousands of times higher than normal. These substances are directly linked to cancer and diseases that lead to disability. In 2006, the average life expectancy of women here was 47 years, and of men 42 years, for a population of 245,000.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #9 - BigPicture.ru

3. chernobyl, Ukraine – an accident at a nuclear power plant.

The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant holds the title of the worst nuclear disaster in history. The release of radiation from the accident was about a hundred times greater than the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The vicinity of the city has been deserted for more than 20 years. It is believed that about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer as well as mutations in newborns are caused by the aftermath of the disaster.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #10 - BigPicture.ru

2. “Fukushima Daiichi, Japan – nuclear power plant accident.

After a massive earthquake, a 15-meter tsunami covered the cooling units and power supply of Fukushima’s three reactors, leading to the March 11, 2011 nuclear accident. More than 280,000 tons of water with chemical waste is now trapped at the power plant, and about 100,000 more tons of water is believed to be in the basements of the four reactors in the turbine rooms. Emergency responders tried to send robots there, but they melted when they got too close. People in the area are at risk of getting all kinds of cancers. According to the World Health Organization, it is the most polluted place in the world. There is a 70% higher risk of thyroid cancer among girls who were exposed as children, a 7% higher risk of thyroid cancer among boys, and a 6% higher risk of breast cancer among women.

Photo: Top 10 dirtiest places on the planet #11 - BigPicture.ru

Lake Karachay, Russia.

Lake Karachay is believed to be the dirtiest place on Earth. The lake is situated near “Mayak” production association, which produces components of nuclear weapons, isotopes, storage and regeneration of spent nuclear fuel. This is the largest and one of the least effective such production facilities in Russia. It has been dumping waste into the river flowing into Lake Karachay since the 1950s. The site was classified until the mid-1990s. Several nuclear accidents occurred at the plant, and toxic waste flowed into the lake. Before the authorities acknowledged these facts, there was a 40 percent increase in leukemia, a 25 percent increase in birth defects, and a 20 percent increase in cancer among the Chelyabinsk region’s population. Exposure to radiation for one hour near a lake is enough to die.

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The world’s dirtiest cities by ecology in 2021-2022

The dirtiest city in the world in 2022 regarding the environment is Chernobyl. The accident that happened here in 1986 made it the undisputed leader of the rating. However, in this case, the study applies to human settlements of the planet.

10th place. Accra, Agboloshi district (Ghana)

Here is the largest landfill of electronic items that have served their time on the planet. In violation of the agreements signed at the Basel Convention, which defines the conditions for exporting toxic waste to the developing countries of the Third World.

Tons of used equipment from Europe and the United States are brought here every day. The local population rummages through it, trying to find something worthwhile. Some of the junk is burned for nonferrous metals. Much of it is wires and contacts.

Accra landfill, Agboloshi district (Ghana)

Accra e-waste dump, Agboloshi district (Ghana)

The constant smoke from burning plastic delivers many highly toxic elements to the environment. The soil around the landfill contains several hundred times the amount of lead, cadmium and mercury.

At the same time, recycling gives the residents of the surrounding areas a good (by local standards) income. The boys engaged in sorting junk and incinerating non-ferrous metals earn about $2.5 for a day shift.

The more enterprising are busy reassembling components. Mostly it is an old system unit. After scrapping working parts are installed in whole cases and sold for much more.

9th place. Ranipet (India).

The reason this small town made it to the ranking of the dirtiest communities is because of a leather recycling plant. It uses a number of carcinogenic substances to dye and tan raw materials. As a result, from the landfill of 1.5 million tons of solid waste, they partially enter the groundwater.

Ranipet, India

Muddy Waters in Ranipet, India

This affects the quality of drinking water and agricultural land. Farmers have no choice but to farm the poisoned land.

A few years ago, the Indian government was forced to close one of its processing plants, but the situation has not changed much. The plant’s management was obliged to develop a project that would make it possible to reduce the amount of polluting emissions at least by half.

8th place. Karabash (Russia)

The first Russian representative of the current list of the most polluted cities in the world is in Chelyabinsk Region. Not only is the environmental situation here difficult. In 2014, it was included in the list of settlements belonging to the category “Multi-industrial municipalities of the Russian Federation, which are in the most difficult socio-economic situation”.

In the nearly century-long history of the enterprises that specialize in copper production, the technology used to produce it has never been updated or modernized. Thus, all harmful emissions were released into the environment, practically bypassing the purification system, which was simply not provided for.

The treatment facilities were launched only in 2005. This led to the fact that in 2009 the city was removed from the list of “Environmental Disaster Areas”, where it was included three years earlier.

In 2010 there was officially recorded the fact of the onset of premature autumn. In the second half of June, the leaves on the trees turned yellow and fell off. A similar situation occurred with all vegetation in the region.

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As a result, local residents and agricultural enterprises suffered enormous losses.

Information available on third-party resources lists Karabash among the leaders of this rating, based on the information provided by UNESCO. The former head of the urban district, Vyacheslav Yagodinets, claimed that Karabash was not the dirtiest city in the world. He disproved this information with such words: “We searched for this information in the archives of this UN agency, but we did not find it!”.

7th place. Kabwe (Zambia)

The city, located 140 km from the capital Lusaka. In the early twentieth century, deposits of lead, vanadium and zinc were discovered here. Erection of infrastructure necessary for mining was the reason for foundation of the settlement.

 Kabwe, Zambia

The construction of the infrastructure necessary for mining was the reason for the formation of the settlement.

In particular, the mining industry operated without restrictions and without purification systems until 1994. As a result, years of emissions into the atmosphere have done their work:

  • The degree of pollution exceeds the permissible limits by more than four times.
  • Almost the entire population suffers from symptoms of acute blood poisoning, expressed in frequent vomiting, diarrhea, chronic diseases of internal organs.
  • The maximum concentration of poisonous substances, and this is the most terrible, was found in children’s bodies.

Development of purification facilities does not give the desired result, as the area is already poisoned and affects people like a time bomb. At the moment, the residents who refused to resettle in other areas are provided with assistance in the form of information. There is no other way out of this situation.

6th place. Norilsk (Russia)

Every year Russian Norilsk is on the top of the dirtiest cities in the world. The only difference is that from time to time it changes its position. It happens that sometimes it even surpasses the state of Chinese industrial cities.

The city’s population barely reaches 200,000 people. Half of them work at the city’s major metallurgical plant, Norilsk Nickel. More than 10 types of various metals are extracted and processed here.

The volatile compounds produced get into people’s respiratory tracts and can cause nausea, abdominal pain, and chronic diseases of parts of the body.

In recent years, the situation has begun to shift for the better. Wastewater treatment plants are being modernized, and as a result, the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere is decreasing. But this is not enough.

Important! Statistics of children’s contamination in Russia calls Norilsk the leader in the number of cases of intestinal and pulmonary diseases.

5th place. Dhaka (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh is known for its overpopulation. Residents of the capital and its neighboring agglomerations know this firsthand. More than 20 million people live here.

Although most of the industry is concentrated here, that’s not what caused the city’s environmental problems. The city with the dirtiest air got this status because of the excessive agglomeration of the local population.

Most of the public transport is by rickshaw. More than 400,000 carriers take to the streets every day. It is they who are recognized as the main culprits of kilometers of traffic jams on the roads.

The port, located on the banks of the Buriganga (Ganges delta), receives tens of thousands of watercraft of various configurations every day. Their movement is estimated as complete chaos. The water in the river is so dirty that it begins to stink a few hundred meters from the shore.

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Bangladesh, Dhaka

The port, located on the banks of the Buriganga (Ganges delta), receives tens of thousands of watercraft of all configurations daily.

Most of the city concentrates tons of garbage and carcasses of dead animals, exuding stench and spreading a variety of infections.

4th place. Dzerzhinsk (Russia).

The second most populous city in the Nizhny Novgorod region is in a difficult position. From 2008 to 2013, the city was listed as one of the most environmentally unfriendly cities in Russia. In 2014 it was excluded from it due to the fact that the concentration of harmful substances in the atmosphere was partially reduced.

However, the amount of suspended particles, nitrogen oxides, benzopyrene and phenol is many times higher. The reason for the poor ecology can be attributed to the following factors:

  • An imposing concentration of industry in one area.
  • The largest industrial waste dump “Black Hole” not far from the city.
  • Several massive chemical waste dumps. One of them is known as Simazine.
  • The “White Sea” sludge dump.

Note: The Swiss branch of the International Green Cross not only considers Dzerzhinsk to be the most polluted city in Europe, but also assigns it to a similar rating, covering the entire planet.

3rd place. Sukinda (India).

Almost all of India’s chromium deposits, essential for stainless steel, are mined in the Sukinda Valley. There are 12 mines concentrated around the town of the same name, which are used for open-pit production.

As a result, all the production waste remains on the ground. At the moment it is about 35 million tons. The most poisonous carcinogen is hexavalent chlorine, which concentration exceeds the permissible norms three to four times.

Muddy water near a mine in Sukinda

Sukinda, India. Muddy water near a mine in Sukinda

Most of it ends up in the groundwater or washes straight into Brahmani waters. The river, in turn, is the only source of water for three million people.

Thus, gastrointestinal diseases, asthma and tuberculosis of the local population here are perceived as natural things. According to international voluntary health organizations, almost 90% of deaths are somehow or other related to the environmental condition of the region.

2nd place. Tianying (China).

Tianying (China)

The blue smoke with which it is constantly shrouded is far from the worst.

The population of this small by Chinese standards town is only 800,000 people. A third of them are registered by doctors with a serious disease status. The settlement is known for its steel works, which produce half of all lead mined in China.

The blue smoke that envelops it all the time is far from the worst of it. The main harm is concentrated in the soil, which contains huge amounts of lead. Once it gets into agricultural products and drinking water, it penetrates the body, causing the most serious consequences.

There is little the government can do about it, since the agglomeration of the country is extremely excessive. There is no chance to give up poisonous products either.

At the same time, grains grown on local fields are forbidden for sale on both the foreign and domestic markets. Lead content in them exceeds permissible norms 26 times. Thus, there is a conscious poisoning of the population here.

1st place. Linfen (China).

Leader of the ranking, the dirtiest city in the world. In ancient times this was the location of the capital of the Chinese Empire and was the palace of the emperor. Now it is the most unfavorable point on the entire globe.

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In the absence of natural gas, the main source of energy in the country is coal. More than half of the mines are concentrated in the city, providing 2/3 of all production. The air here is not just dirty, but virtually devoid of oxygen.

Linfen (China)

Linfen (China). The air here is not just dirty, but virtually deprived of oxygen.

The air is saturated with the following particles:

  • Ash.
  • Carbon monoxide.
  • Nitrogen oxide.
  • Sulfur dioxide.
  • Arsenic.
  • Lead.

The coal mining industry is not the main culprit of Linfen’s environmental problems. The changed vector of the country’s economic development demanded more energy resources. The result has been an expansion not only of coal mining, but also of the chemical industry.

Every day the city’s plants and factories emit deadly compounds of exhaust fumes and waste poisonous water. Visibility, even in sunny weather, is no more than 300 meters.

The official conclusion of the Chinese Ministry of Health confirms that more than three million people living in the region have health problems. The Chinese government plans to reduce the output by closing several mines in the next few years. The solution is self-evident. But in this case, the crowds of Chinese with compromised health and lung cancer will find themselves unemployed.

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Interesting! Residents of the city never dry their laundry outside. In just an hour or an hour and a half it turns gray.

The ecological condition of European cities

In terms of ecology European countries are far ahead of African and Asian countries. The peak of industrial development has passed, and there are not so many minerals. The situation is in their favor due to the fact that more and more production facilities are being moved to third world countries.

The reason for this is not so much environmental considerations as lower labor costs.

To a greater extent, the poor environmental performance is directly attributable to the citizens who live there. This rating applies to European countries, with the exception of Russia with its Ural and Siberian mineral deposits and high concentration of industrial enterprises.

Where it is better not to live in Europe

Based on this, the dirtiest cities in Europe can be called the following:

    6th place. Polotsk. The dirtiest city in Belarus. The reason lies in the large number of industrial enterprises, located in the vicinity.

Polotsk (Belarus)

Polotsk. The dirtiest city in Belarus.

Stolipinovo quarter.

Stolipinovo quarter in Plovdiv.

The Beach, Odessa, Ukraine.

The beach in Odessa, Ukraine.

 Dnepropetrovsk Steel Works

Dnepropetrovsk steel plant

Garbage dump in a street in Naples

“Garbage crisis” in Naples

Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2018

Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2022. Sarcophagus

Total pollution of the environment is becoming more and more evident every year. Rating of 10 most dirty cities is constantly updated, previously unknown settlements and regions are added.

The movement of air masses, soil migration, rivers and groundwater do their job, moving toxic particles far beyond dangerous hotspots.

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