Based on severity of health risks to citizens and types of pollution threats, the group managed to outline the places where deaths caused by environmental factors such as pollution are much more likely, and call for immediate actions. Interestingly, the list is not ranked, it is presented in alphabetical order.
The Blacksmith Institute is a non-profit establishment, which provides expertise to local agencies, dedicated to clean up some of the most polluted areas in the world with the sole aim to save lives. Each year they produce a report, which not only acknowledges the problem of environmental pollution, but also urges for immediate action. This year, the numbers were shocking. As stated by Richard Fuller, the president of the institute, more than 200 million people are currently at a severe risk, and unfortunately, these are not only concentrated in the top ten most polluted areas.
According to WHO, environmental pollution is the cause of 23% of all deaths in developing countries. Radioactive leaks, illegal dumping of e-waste, oil spills and unregulated mining are only a few of the problems that cause thousands of deaths, many of which are pre-mature, and millions of cases of chronic poisoning, organ damage and cancer.
These pollution sources were also the ones used by the researchers at Blacksmith, to outline the top ten sites. There is no wonder the locations could not be ranked, considering how difficult it is to decide whose life is in higher danger, and that is the reason why the places will be listed in alphabetical order here, as they are presented in the original report.
Agbogbloshie, Ghana, known as the second largest e-waste processing area and dump site in West Africa. It is estimated that more than 40,000 people are in danger of serious health implications.
Chernobyl, Ukraine, known as the place of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Pollution from Chernobyl has been found to have affected the health of more than 10 million people.
Citarium River, Indonesia, is a water body known for its extremely high levels of lead, aluminium, manganese and iron, dumped by various industrial and domestic sources. It is estimated that half a million people are directly affected, while around 5 million suffer the consequences indirectly.
Dzershinsk, Russia, is a place characterized with extreme groundwater pollution due to chemical manufacturing. The citizens have life expectancy of 47 years for women and 42 years for men, due to the fact that most suffer from various cancers and diseases.
Hazaribagh, Bangladesh, is a town where more than 22,000 cubic liters of toxic waste is dumped in the main river per day. The number of affected people is just over 160,000.
Kabwe, Zimbabwe, area known for unregulated lead mining, affecting more than 300,000 people, and causing lead levels in children’s blood samples to exceed the recommended levels by up to 10 times.
Kalimantan, Indonesia, area with extremely high levels of mercury from gold mining. Currently, mercury emissions released during the gold extracting process affect more than 225,000 people
Matanza Riachuelo, Argentina is the host of thousands of industries, which release their waste into the Matanza River, flowing through Buenos Aires. The pollutants end up in sources of drinking water, putting the lives of at least 20,000 people in danger.
Niger River Delta, Nigeria, known as a highly polluting center of the petroleum industry. Between 1976 and 2000, there were nearly 7,000 reported incidents of oil spills. The number of people, who are or might be affected is unknown.
Norilsk, Russia, an industrial city in Siberia known for extremely high levels of copper and nickel oxides, and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. The workers in the factories have at least 10 years shorter life expectancy than an average Russian citizen.