Over the last 100 years or so, humanity has made astounding technological advances at an overwhelming pace. These advances in science and technology may have made our lives easier and more exciting, but the trail of waste we have left (and still continue to leave) behind is simply horrendous. Pollutants of all kinds – chemical, nuclear, basic garbage, electronic waste – have seriously ruined our environment. Many locations have been so drastically impacted that living in them is a near impossibility. Chernobyl, Ukraine is a great example, the town witnessed the worst nuclear power plant accident in human history and since then has been an uninhabitable ghost town.
Although this list doesn’t feature any locations in the United States, they do exist. There are a number of sites that have been declared extremely toxic such as Love Canal, New York, Tar Creek, Oklahoma, and Gowanus Canal, New York. A recent case for alarm is a practice called Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking, which is a perfect example of modern day methods that have been linked to pollution of water and air. Mountaintop Removal is another controversial practice that is known to tarnish local water and wildlife.
Along with the ten places mentioned in the video, here are other toxic places in the world that deserve an (dis)honorable mention.
Linfen, China: Los Angeles smog would be considered a ‘good day’ compared to the air pollution in Linfen and it’s considered the “most polluted city in the world.” The reason behind the pollution is credited to industrial manufacturing and automobile pollution. The air here is apparently so bad that leaving your clothes out to air dry can turn them black!
The Great Pacific Garage Patch: Mainly consisting of plastic waste, an island over two times the size of Texas and over thirty feet deep floats in the Pacific Ocean.
Rondonia, Brazil: This is the most deforested region of the Amazon Rainforest. Trees in thousands upon thousands of acres of area have been slashed and burned down. The once green area has now been replaced with cattle.
Yamuna River: Although serious attempts have been made by the government to clean it up, the Yamuna River in India continues to be tarnished by waste. The city of New Dehli alone contributes about 3,296 MLD of sewage per day. An amount too much for the underfunded treatment facilities to handle.
La Oroya, Peru: The lead smelter in this town, run by a North American company Doe Run, is responsible for the huge amounts of lead that has polluted the city. About all children living in the neighborhood have been tested and there has been lead found in their bloodstream, at very unacceptable levels.
Lake Karachay, Russia: The amount of radiation from nuclear waste dumping is so strong that a person can get a lethal dose within an hour of being in the area. Cancer is a huge issue amongst the workers in the nuclear facility. There are many cases of childbirth defects and leukemia in the surrounding area. There is also a concern regarding the spread of radioactivity in distant areas air and river water.
Space: Man has also left a huge trail of pollution in space; over 4 million pounds of space debris and various vacant spacecraft currently orbit the earth. This has raised huge concerns for potential accidents that can cause satellites and communication to fail.