10 Most Polluted Cities In The World

10 Most Polluted Cities In The World

The World’s 10 Most Polluted Cities

Innovation and technology advancements are great and make living much more comfortable and convenient. The same innovations that improve life also are creating a problem with pollution. While underdeveloped regions may not be facing the same issue with pollution this problem is prevalent in the developed world.

There are cities throughout the world that have really gone above and beyond when it comes to pollution. There are 10 cities in particular that have the largest amount of pollution worldwide.

1. Linfen, China

The first city on the most polluted list is Linfen. This city is located in the Shanxi province of China and has about 3 million residents. The city is located in the coal mining region of the country and there are many mines being operated in the area. Some mines are legal while others are not but the smell of burning coal is constantly present in the air. The air is so dirty from the coal that residents cannot hang wet clothes outside without them turning black from the pollution. The province’s version of the EPA has declared this city as the most polluted with the worst air in the entire country of China.

2. Tianying, China

A second Chinese city wins the number two spot on the ten most polluted cities. Lead and heavy metals contribute to the pollution in this city. Tianying is located in the north east part of China and is very industrialized. There are very few policies in place to regulate technologies and as a result the environment has been contaminated with lead and the air is polluted. The residents in the city are becoming ill from lead related illnesses and the symptoms range from pain and general discontent all the way to hallucinations and some residents are reporting memory loss. The city or the country has taken no steps to address the pollution in the region or help with the illnesses being reported.

3. Sukinda, India

Sukinda, India
Sukinda, India is the third on the list of the most polluted cities and its pollution problem stems from large amounts of heavy metals. The city mines chrome primarily and provides 97% of the chromium produced in India but there are other heavy metals it also supplies. As a result of the mining activities there is an excessive stockpile of mining waste that is being stored in mountain sized piles throughout the city. The waters around the city are polluted with hexavalent chromium which is a known carcinogen. Over 2.6 million residents of the city have developed some type of cancer as a result of the pollution. These high numbers should make the world take notice and hopefully step in to make changes.

4. Vapi, India

Vapi, India
Next on the list in the number four slot is Vapi, India. Vapi is a cornucopia of pollution from all the industries that operate in the region. Both the land and the surround water are heavily polluted with industrial waste including metals and harmful chemicals. The water has a mercury content that exceeds safe levels by 96 times. Mercury toxicity causes numerous health issues such as weakness in muscles, reduced peripheral vision, and neurological problems or deficits. All agriculture in the area is also contaminated with excessive levels of heavy metals.

5. La Oroya, Peru

La Oroya, Peru
Lead is the biggest problem in La Oroya, Peru and a recent survey showed that 99% of children have excessively high levels of lead in their bodies well above what is accepted. La Oroya is in the Andes Mountains of Peru and has many mines and processing plants for heavy metals. All the residents in the areas have excessively high levels of lead in their system and all are above what the World Health Organization deems acceptable. There is so much contamination of the soil due to pollution that it would be hundreds of years before it could clear up. The country has done nothing to correct this issue and the polluting is continuing making the problem worse for future generations.

6. Dzerzhinsk, Russia

Dzerzhinsk, Russia
Dzerzhinsk City was built where many tons of chemical wastes were dumped from 1930 through 1998. Because it was used to store chemical wastes the Guinness Book of World Records has this city listed as the worst in the world. The dumping has caused the residents of the city to barely live to 50 years old. Both men and women typically die while they are still in their forties making this the lowest life expectancy in Russia. The high pollution in the city means that all residents are living in a cesspool of waste and it is taking its toll on their lives and their health.

7. Chernobyl, Ukraine

Chernobyl, Ukraine
The nuclear fallout that happened in Chernobyl was many times more than the fallout that resulted from the nuclear bombings of the Japanese City of Hiroshima and the Japanese City of Nagasaki during World War II. After the nuclear power plant melted down the city became completely unlivable. The area around the plant is especially bad and that includes a 19 mile exclusion area around the plant. After the fallout there were many thousands of children that were diagnosed with cancer. These children came from the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Fortunately, there were actions taken to contain the radiation and people were evacuated from the affected areas but as a result of the meltdown Chernobyl is now one of the most polluted cities in the world.

8. Norilsk, Russia

Norilsk, Russia
Norilsk, Russia takes the number eight position on the list of the most polluted cities in the world with the excessive amounts of selenium, lead and copper that gets released into the atmosphere. But the fun doesn’t stop there it also releases arsenic, nickel and cadmium making it the who’s who in air pollutants. Environmental experts estimate that over 4 million tons are being released. The pollutants are causing the city residents to die from respiratory illnesses. It does not help the situation that the largest plant for smelting heavy metals is located adjacent to a residential zone. Additional proof that Norilsk deserves its spot on the list is that there are no living trees anywhere within the city or 30 miles around the smelting operation.

9. Sumqayit, Azerbaijan

Sumqayit, Azerbaijan
Sumqayit is the number nine city on the list of most polluted cities and gains is fame from Soviet neglect like other Russian cities on the list. The blatant disregard for the earth in that region is evident in the tons of emissions that are plaguing this city. Many plants were shut down but the evidence of their pollution is still impacting the region.

10. Kabwe, Zambia

Kabwe, Zambia
The final city on the list is Kabwe, Zambia. Early in the 20th century lead deposits were found nearby Kabwe. When it was discovered though, nobody investigated how it would impact the environment, children or other residents in the area. Many residents have unhealthy levels of lead in their system. Unlike other cities on this list there may be hope for this city with a potential clean-up project starting.
Pollution is a problem in these ten cities and elsewhere in the world. It is a complex issue and multiple factors must be managed to come up with a ranking. Some cities that were close to making the list were Mexico City, Lagos and Karachi.

If nothing is done is these heavily polluted cities it will impact future generations and the regions will continue to cause problems for anyone who braves living there.


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