The thirty most polluted places in the world
Of the top ten, two are located in China, two in India, two in Russia and another two in the former Soviet bloc. Among the locations is Chernobyl in Ukraine.
As we will see, some sites affect the lives of million people.
Among the top ten is the the city of Linfen in China which concentrates an impressive amount of coal fired plants. All these electricity generators literally poison the lives of three million people.
Shanxi Province is at the heart of China’s enormous and expanding coal industry, providing about two thirds of the nation’s energy. Within this highly polluted region, Linfen has been identified as one of its most polluted cities with residents claiming that they literally choke on coal dust in the evenings.
Rapid development and unequivocal faith in industry has led to the development of hundreds of unregulated coal mines, steel factories and refineries which have not only polluted indiscriminately but have also diverted agricultural water sources. Water is so tightly rationed that even the provincial capital receives water for only a few hours each day.
It seems the local government is willing to tackle this worrying fact as the Blacksmith Institute notes :
By the end of this year, the city of Linfen plans to shut down 160 of 196 of its iron foundries and 57 of 153 of its coal producing plants. Small, highly polluting plants will be replaced with larger, cleaner, more regulated facilities. Emissions will be cut further by shifting from coal to gas for central heating. Last year, Linfen’s residents gained 15 more days of clean, breathable air as a result of newly implemented initiatives.
It is no surprise to see a Chinese city in this list as we already saw in a previous article that 16 cities from the People’s Republic are mentioned in the 20 cities with the worst air pollution. (cf. Air pollution kills thousands every year in China, dated July 2nd, 2007)
The former nuclear site of Chernobyl, in Ukraine, is in the list provided by the Blacksmith Institute and remains for many a sign why nuclear power should be stopped now.
But the technology that was used in Ukraine (RBMK) is not used in France or else. The few remaining RBMK reactors in Russia have been heavily improved since.
The other types of nuclear plants (like PWR) have totally different architectures and have nothing in common with RBMK, and thus have improved security. Furthermore, plants include in most cases more robust containment structures (source : US NRC)
Back to Chernobyl, a new sarcophagus will be built soon my two French companies, Bouygues and Vinci (see the press release). This will be done in order to secure the site as the old sarcophagus is leaking.
To go further on the worst polluted sites worldwide, among the sources of pollution are industries and their release of pollutants (cases of Vapi in India or Sumgayit in Azerbaijan), weapons manufacturing (in Russia), and mining (cases of La Oroya in Peru, Sukinda in India or Tianying in China).
An interactive map has been done to show easily the distribution of the sites on a map (uses Google maps)
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