Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Most Toxic Places on Earth (final)

Giving credit where credit is due, I repeat my statement - "This is a reprint from Mother Nature Network".

Lake Karachay, Russia
According to a report by the Worldwatch Institute on nuclear waste, Karachay is the most polluted spot on Earth. It was used by the Soviet Union as a nuclear dumping site, and now the radiation level here is so high that it's sufficient to give a lethal dose after just an hour of exposure.

The nation of Haiti was once 60 percent covered in forest. Today, only 2 percent of the country still has standing trees. This picture shows an aerial of the border between Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right). Haiti has cleared almost every tree right up to its borders. And with the recent devastating earthquake, the island's environmental situation has worsened.

Kabwe, Zambia
Lead and cadmium soak the hills of Kabwe after decades of mining and processing. Children here have lead concentrations five to 10 times the permissible U.S. Environmental Protection Agency levels, and the ground is so contaminated that nothing can be grown.

Appalachia, West Virginia
Mountaintop removal mining is one of the world's most environmentally destructive practices, and it is most associated with coal mining in West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains. Whole mountaintops are removed to get to the coal, which increases erosion and runoff thick with pollutants, poisoning streams and rivers throughout the region.

Dzerzhinsk, Russia
The Guinness Book of World Records has named Dzerzhinsk the most chemically polluted city on Earth, and in 2003 its death rate exceeded its birth rate by 260 percent. More than 300,000 tons of chemical waste were improperly dumped here between 1930 and 1998.

Riachuelo Basin, Argentina
The Riachuelo Basin is a waterway whose name is synonymous with pollution. More than 3,500 factories operate along the banks of the river, a landscape that also includes 13 slums, numerous illegal sewage pipes running directly into the river, and 42 open garbage dumps.

Vapi, India
Sitting at the southern end of a 400-kilometer-long belt of industrial estates, the town of Vapi is a dumping place for chemicals of every kind. Levels of mercury in the groundwater are 96 times higher than safety levels, and heavy metals are present in the air and the local produce.

Earth's orbit
Believe it or not, even space contains copious amounts of pollution. An estimated 4 million pounds of space debris — nuts, bolts, metal and carbon, even whole spacecraft — currently orbit the Earth, threatening satellites, communication and even the lives of our astronauts.

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