Different types of pollution affect our environment in different ways. The effects of air pollution are different from light pollution, which is different from plastic pollution. Pollution depends on many factors such as the density of pollution, concentrations of factories and industries.
Information about natural or man-made disasters, geographical topography locations, weather, etc. Here we have information about the top 20 most polluted areas of the world. Let’s discuss this.
There are polluted places where one can live for a while and there is a chronic risk for pollutants that reduce the quality of life. There are others where spending even an hour will result in death.
Pollution can be measured in terms of the number of pollutants per area or volume. But it can also be covered as the relative quality of air or water or the amount of waste produced by the population each day. Noise pollution is localized while air pollution is nearly universal.
1. Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean
According to National Geographic, one of the farthest places on Earth, 35,756 feet deep under the sea, the Mariana Trench is more polluted than the Liao River, the most polluted river in China.
Crustaceans that live in this trench have 50 times more pollutants. These pollutants include two persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which are produced between the 1930s and 1970s.
Production of some 1.3 million tonnes was then released into the environment by industrial accidents and discharges, landfill leaks, and incomplete tilting. POPs live in environments for a long time because they do not break easily.
2. Linfen, China
According to Time magazine, this city located on the banks of the river Fen is considered the most polluted city in the world. It is part of China’s coal belt with hills filled with legal and illegal quarries. Even in agricultural water sources, there is a severe water shortage.
There is so much burning coal that most residents are regularly hospitalized for respiratory conditions such as black lung, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
The high concentration of arsenic in drinking water causes arsenicosis, skin lesions, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, Blackfoot disease, and high cancer rates.
Excessive clothing can be judged by the fact that if you hang it to dry the clothes can turn black within a few minutes. The government reduced coal production by shutting down some of its production plants and iron casting.
Nowadays better-regulated facilities are being run. There is a shift from managing coal to natural gas for central heating.
3. Tianying, China
Located in north-eastern China, this industrial city is critically polluted with lead and other heavy metals. Lead is found in its water and once productive soil.
Residents of this city show long-term effects of health poisoning, such as retarded amnesia, irritability, loss of memory, and hallucinations.
It has lead to encephalopathy, lower IQ, low attention span, learning weaknesses, hyperactivity, weakened physical development, hearing, and visible problems, intestinal pain, stomach irritation, organ failure, anemia, and brain damage.
Premature birth and underdeveloped babies are also common. After the city was named as one of the eight worst polluted sites in China in 2000, the local administration ordered that all major processing firms be closed until environmental impacts were assessed.
They have also designated a designated industrial zone where firms have moved their operations and improved all their treatment facilities.
4. Lake Karachay, Central Russia
A small lake in the southern Ural Mountains was used as a dumping site for radioactive waste originating from Mayank, a nuclear waste storage and processing facility. World Watch Institute Washington D.C.
A report by the US describes Karachay as the most polluted place on earth. The sediment at the bottom of the lake is made up of depths of up to about 11 feet of high-level radioactive waste.
The lake was initially planned to store highly radioactive material until it could be returned to the Mayank facility’s underground storage. This has never happened due to the lethal level of radioactivity.
The Kishtami disaster in 1957 when a faulty cooling system caused an explosion of the underground vat, causing widespread pollution in the entire Mayank area. As the lake dries the winds carry radioactive dust from the drying place and radiate more places and people.
The lake was filled with hollow concrete blocks to prevent sediments from shifting. Standing in this area leads to such a lethal dose of radiation that one person can die in an hour.
5. Norilsk, Russia
Terrible air pollution has placed this city on the list of most polluted cities in many studies. It has the largest smelting complex in the world. Trees do not grow within a 30 km radius of the city.
The life expectancy of the people here is 10 years. Russian less than average. Respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and the digestive system are common. There has been no upgrading of the smelter equipment which may reduce air pollution.
6. Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. It spans water from the west coast of North America to Japan.
It is bounded by a system of circular oceans formed by forces created by the North Pacific subtropical gyre, the Earth’s wind patterns and the planet’s rotation.
The waste heap consists mainly of plastic debris that is not biodegradable but is fragmented into small pieces, even microplastic. The water looks like a cloud soup and interacts with later items such as fishing gear and shoes.
Sea debris is harmful to marine life. Turtles, albatrosses, fish, and other small creatures mistake these for food. Seals and large mammals get entangled in abandoned plastic fishing nets.
Sunlight is blocked by debris and affects the photosynthetic activity of algae and plankton. Thus, the entire food web is under threat.
Plastic leaches absorb pollutants such as bisphenol-A and PCBs from seawater and enter the food chain. This area is easy to clean and not very expensive. Trying to clear the sea can eliminate many small-sized marine animals.
Although no country takes responsibility for waste, many organizations and individuals are dedicated to not allowing marine debris to increase further.
7. La Oroya, Peru
Adults and children of 1922 in La Oroya, a Peruvian mining town, have been exposed to toxic emissions and waste by replacing a polymetallic smelter.
Owned by the Missouri-based Doo Run Corporation, the plant has been largely responsible for the alarmingly high levels found in children’s blood. Lead poisoning is considered particularly harmful to the mental development of children.
Even newly burnt children receive higher levels of blood from their mothers. Sulfur dioxide concentrations are also high and contaminating the soil.
With the help of the government, and updating its smelters and pollution control systems with an investment of $ 400 million, the Doe Run Corporation has developed an environmental management plan.
They are also investing in community development and poverty alleviation efforts.
8. Sukinda Valley, India
India has 97% chromite ore deposits and one of the largest open-cast chromite ore mine in this valley in the state of Orissa. There is no environmental management system in the operating mines.
The waste rock extends into the surrounding areas. Untreated water is discharged into the river by the mines. There is also a danger of flooding in the region resulting in water contamination. Hexavalent chromium is found in drinking water up to 20times above-approved levels.
Gastrointestinal bleeding, tuberculosis, and asthma are common diseases. Infertility, birth defects, and stillbirths are also prevalent. Even villages more than a kilometer away from mining sites report diseases related to chromium poisoning.
This is a classic example of pollution, where garbage is spread over a large area and residents are affected by multiple routes.
9. Sumayit, Azerbaijan
During the Soviet period, Sumayajit was a major industrial center with over 40 factories such as synthetic rubber, chlorine, aluminum, detergents, and pesticides. At that time 70–120,000 tons of harmful emissions were released into the air every year.
Today only 20% of these are functioning, but the city is still under the influence of heritage pollution. Pollution control, the continued lack of dated technologies, and the treatment of accumulated industrial waste, and the issues of improper disposal and treatment plague the city.
High levels of disease and death still persist. The rate of cancer is 22–51% higher than in other parts of Azerbaijan. The death rate is 8% higher.
Many babies are born prematurely, yet still be born and have genetic defects such as Down’s syndrome, anencephaly, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, bone disease, and mutations such as club feet, cleft palates, and extra digits.
With the help of international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Program, the government is trying to research environmental problems and propose programs to prioritize and address them.
The UK and Japan-funded World Bank and other international projects have also implemented some cleaning projects.
10. Niger River Delta, Nigeria
The region has been polluted with petroleum since the 1950s. It is a densely populated area of about 70000 sq km. At least 240000 barrels of crude oil have been dumped into the delta each year affecting fishing, agriculture, and human health.
11. Rio Matanza – Riachuelo, Argentina
The 60 km long river basin in Buenos Aires has 15000 small industries that pollute the river. Shore soils have high concentrations of heavy metals.
Chromium is found at an average level of 1141 parts per million, which is 900ppm higher than the regulated level in the US.
Heavy metals contaminate drinking water for 20000 people. The World Bank is funding here for a large project that will help the city of Buenos Aires clean the river but it will take a few decades.
12. Kalimantan, Indonesia
Artisan gold mining is the second-largest source of mercury pollution in the world, using mercury to obtain pure gold.
Kalimantan is the center of such gold mining and every year more than 1000 MT of mercury enters the environment. Mercury is a known brain poison that accumulates in water and fish.
13. Kabwe, Zambia
The entire city of Kaweah is contaminated with lead dust. It has the largest lead smelters as well as several lead mines.
Leftover lead ore is mined to benefit from the over-release of toxic heavy metals. Pigeon children have levels 40 times higher than the safe limit proposed by the US Centers for Disease Control.
The average blood concentration ranges between 50–100 μg per deciliter. Very little is being done to control lead pollution.
14. Hazaribagh, Bangladesh
Hazaribagh has 270 registered factories on about 25 hectares of land. Each day 22000 cubic liters of toxic waste, including carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, are dumped into the Buriga River.
All 185000 or more people living in Hazaribagh are being poisoned by an industry employing 8000 to 12000 people.
15. Dzerzhinsk, Russia
The most chemically polluted city in the world- Guinness World Records 2011. In an area improperly buried in 300,000 metric tons over 60 years, 190 different chemicals have been detected in groundwater.
Life expectancy for women is 47 and 42 for men is 10–15 years less than the average life expectancy in Russia already.
16. Sitaram River, Indonesia
Nine million people and 2000 factories are found in 13000 sq km of the river basin in Java Island. The waterway provides drinking water as well as water for rice irrigation.
Metal contamination, including lead, mercury, and even arsenic, has been found in water.
The Indonesian government has promised to invest $ 3.5 billion to clean the river with a loan from the World Bank.
17. Chernobyl, Ukraine
Chernobyl is still the world’s worst civil nuclear accident. Some 30 years later, 150,000 square km of land is contaminated with various radioactive isotopes such as Sesim 137 or plutonium that were released when the reactor exploded.
About 10 million people are at risk. It is not likely to move many people. There is no quick and easy fix.
18. Agbogbloshie, Ghana
Agbogbloshie is a dumpsite for e-waste. Recovering precious metals and other components of computers and electronic equipment is the main cause of pollution here.
Recyclers burn plastic sheathing on copper wires and wires that often use locally available fuels such as styrofoam. Heavy metals such as lead in these cables travel by air and settle on local homes and soil.
Lead levels of samples from the site are equivalent to 18,125 parts per million – 17 times the level of lead in US blood.
Even if the wires are snatched away by hand tools, burning is cheap and easy. And the amount of e-waste is only increasing. Many such toxic sites will be found because precious metals are used in electronics.
19. Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
It is a region of hypoxic waters at the mouth of the Mississippi. Its area varies in size but ranges from 6000–7000 square miles.
The region lies between the inner and middle continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico, which begins in the delta of the Mississippi River and extends west to the upper Texas coast. It is one of the biggest dead zones in the world.
Nutrient enrichment occurs due to the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural states in the Mississippi Valley, including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
This is followed by algal overgrowth and eruption which reduces oxygen levels in the river to such an extent that no other plant or animal can survive in these waters.
The Gulf of Mexico is a major source area for the seafood industry. The Gulf supplies 72% of American chopped shrimp, 66% of chopped oysters, and 16% of commercial fish. If the dead zone deteriorates, fishermen and coastal state economies are greatly affected.
20. New Delhi, India
Measurements in New Delhi in November 2016 put the city’s air quality index at 999 on Monday. The standard chart ends at a dangerous level of 500! Overuse and overuse of scarce resources like water put tremendous pressure on the environment.
Add to this road dust and industry and heavy traffic. Vehicles that are found in large numbers run on diesel. This also increases noise pollution. Water pollution and adequate solid waste treatment facilities have caused great damage to the Yamuna River.
The above is one of the most polluted places in the world. An order cannot be specified to them. Every person or animal suffering in one place will feel that it is the most polluted place in the world, depending on their level of health.
But it is good to have a list and keep in mind that measures are being taken to control pollution in many places. Like children, the elderly, and other weaker sections of society are most affected, the government and other international agencies are happy to research and see ways to help people.
It is always good for progress, but the effect of development should not adversely affect the environment and human beings. Every highly polluted city then went unnoticed and is now paying the price of its negligence. This is a warning to keep in mind.
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- Soil Pollution: Types, Causes, Effects and Prevention