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What have we wrought? September 19, 2007

Posted by davegoblog in Pollution, Science.

Last week, the Blacksmith Institute issued their list of the 2007 Top Ten of the World’s Worst Polluted Places, a report on the places where pollution most severely impacts human health, especially the health of children. It is organized alphabetically by country because within the list the sites are not ranked. The report states, “ranking is not realistic or feasible…given the wide range of location sizes, populations and pollution dynamics.”

  • Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

  • Linfen, China

  • Tianying, China

  • Sukinda, India

  • Vapi, India

  • La Oroya, Peru

  • Dzerzhinsk, Russia

  • Norilsk, Russia

  • Chernobyl, Ukraine

  • Kabwe, Zambia


According to the Blacksmith Institute, “Vapi, India, exemplifies a region overwhelmed by industrial estates – more than fifty poison the local soils and groundwater with pesticides, PCBs, chromium, mercury, lead, and cadmium.” The mercury in their groundwater is 96 times greater than the World Health Organization standards. Very high incidences of cancer and birth complications have resulted.

LinfenThe State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) of China has branded Linfen as having the worst air quality in the country. Linfen is a city in Shanxi Province, which is at the heart of China’s coal region, and its residents claim that they literally choke on coal dust in the evenings. In addition, a study in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found that an alarming 52% of well water was deemed unsafe to drink in the province due to elevated levels of arsenic. This has lead to high rates of respiratory and skin diseases as well as lung cancer.

Modern life is filled with a myriad of conveniences and choices all of which can have unseen and unintended effects. Do we throw out that nickel-cadmium battery or do we recycle it? Do we spray herbicide on those weeds or do we dig them out by hand? Do we fertilize our lawns? Take a minute to think about where these chemicals originated, who mined and processed them, and where they go after we use them.



1. rexmoond - September 20, 2007

Yes, I saw this list! How poverty is so inherently linked with pollution. Basic health and environmental security should be a basic human right.

2. narziss - September 20, 2007

Its interesting that such lists never include the warfare-caused pollution; more especially when it has been caused by the world’s superpowers.

Such as the Agent Orange pollution in Vietnam, caused by the U.S.

Perfect credibility, this proves. eh?

3. AnthonyNorth - September 25, 2007

If you think about it, all pollution is caused by the super – or at least, major western – powers, whether by war or peace. Every time we buy from a multi-national we become complicit ourselves. Or am I being unfair?

4. davegoblog - September 25, 2007

Anthony – I think your being fair. We in America and other Western powers buy cheaper goods from developing countries with lower wages as well as little to no environmental regulations. We would definitely not stand for the working conditions and pollution seen in those most polluted areas.

5. Godofredo Arauzo - November 3, 2008

The years 2006 and 2007 the Blacksmith Institute have accomplished a research about the cities more contaminated to the world and arrived to the conclusion that the Oroya city was between the 10 cities more polluted of the world and, the environment Graffiti 2008 said that is between five more pollute too to the world and the 2008 Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland say that Oroya is between the most polluted of the world. This qualifications are benevolents; according to my researchs to many years who I am publishing, the Oroya city is the more polluted to Peru, Latin America and of the world and every day is being more polluted: lead in blood in children in the Ancient Oroya in average 53.7 ug/dl ( DIGESA 1999); pregnancies women 39.49 ig/dl ( UNES 2000), new borns children 19.06 ug/dl, puerperal 319 ug/100 grams/placenta ( Castro 2003) and workers 50 ug/dl ( Doe Run 2003).Top lead in blood accepted 10 ug/dl; present day is 0 ug/dl ( Pediatric of Academy to USA)
When the Oroya city was in hands to the CentroMin eliminated only by the upper chimney to 167.500 meters, in average by day in tons: sulfur dioxide 1000, lead 2500, arsenic 2500, cadmium 40, particulate matter 50 and so on, more 24,000 to toxis gas product to the incomplete combustion of the coal, without count it is eliminated by industrial incinerator y by the 97 smalls chimneys, it is estimated 15,000; overall 45,000 tons for day (PAMA . El Complejo Metalúrgico de la Oroya, 1996); other research say that by this chimney only eliminate overall 119¨917,440 tons too every day to a velocity to 8.7 meters by second ( Chuquimantari C. Yauli-La Oroya Minería y Ciudades Empresas Pág. 57, 1992)
Doe Run envoy every three months the concentrations of the heavy metals to the Ministry to the Energy and Mines and with the sames datums Ceverstav have demostrated the pollution was increased; for example the sulfur dioxide it have increased in near to 300 %, by increment to the production (Cederstav. La Oroya no Espera 2002
The American Association to the Environment say that the environmental quality to the Oroya it is serious deteriorated since that Doe Run was owner and the same enterprise
declared that the concentrations of the heavy metals gas it is ncreased in the air: lead 1160 %, cadmium 1990 % and arsenic 6006 % (Portugal, et al. Los Humos de Doe Run 2003)

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