Industrial pollution is the dark side of our modern world and while it surely has preceded what has been called the industrial revolution of the eighteen and nineteen centuries it surely took a turn for the worst that paralleled the massive production from which we have since then benefitted so much. With time the first cities that heavily suffered from the initial polluted plumes and effluents were cleaned of this massive nuisance. Some of these cities have even become tourist havens. The main reason that made this clean-up possible was that industrial centers were recreated further away because of the increasing transport abilities that were generated by industrialization. In our modern era these production/pollution centers could be anywhere on the planet.
So while we are living the globalization of our economies we are also experiencing global pollution of our planetary environment. This, by the way, does not mean that industrialized countries are now enjoying pristine environments. It simply indicates that irreparable pollution problems are spreading beyond and far from the consumer market that drives the production in the first place. Many sites of the massive industrialization that occurred in the twentieth century in North America and in Europe are now trickling toxins in the environment at a regular rate.
Blacksmith Instituteworks around the globe to identify dangerously polluted sites and initiate their clean up, using its Polluted Places methodology to focus efforts on the most productive interventions. For the biggest polluted areas, Blacksmith works with local partners, including environmental authorities, to identify large-scale interventions for potential funding by international agencies. The Blacksmith The World’s Most Polluted Placeslist was first published in 2006. The publicity generated by the report, especially the negative publicity on these countries (especiallyChina, India, and Russia) and these companies, will hopefully help them to create and/or improve their environmental laws and policies to reduce the amount of environmental pollution that comes out of these sites.
In addition, the Blacksmith Institutealso list its Dirty 30, which is a list of the thirty most polluted locations around the world. The press release from the Blacksmith Institute says that most of the places on the “Dirty 30” list are located in Asia, specifically in China, India, and Russia.
The 2007 Top 10 list and the Dirty 30list were generated by Blacksmith Institute’s Technical Advisory Board, which includes environmental researchers, specialists, and experts from Green Cross Switzerland, The Johns Hopkins University, Hunter College, Harvard University, IIT Delhi, University of Idaho, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and leaders of major international environmental remediation companies.
The following is the list of the ten most polluted sites for 2007, with a brief description of the scope of the underlying problems and the major pollutants encountered:
Sumgayit, Azerbaijan :
due to d
:Organic chemicals and mercury, from petrochemical and industrial complexes
due to dated technologies, a lack of pollution controls and improper disposal of industrial waste have left the city contaminated.
:Particulates and gases from industry and traffic
.Expanding and unregulated industry based on local coal and other resources has resulted in the WORST AIR QUALITY IN CHINA. There are high incidences of respiratory and skin diseases and lung cancer.
Tianying, China :
:Heavy metals and particulates; industry
.Average lead content in the air and soil are up to10 times higher than national standards. Children suffer from birth defects and developmental challenges.
Suknda, India :
:Hexavalent chromium; chromite mines
.Waste rock and untreated water from the mines impacts local water supplies. The air and soils are also affected. heavily Residents suffer from gastrointestinal bleeding, tuberculosis, and asthma. Infertility and birth defects are common.
:Wide variety of industry effluents industrial estates
.More than 50 industrial estates discharge heavy metals, pesticides, and chemical waste. Mercury in the groundwater is 96 timeshigher than WHO standards. Very high incidences of cancer and birth complications have resulted.
La Oroya, Peru : .
:Lead and other heavy metals; mining and metal processing
.Metal mining and smelting over 80 years has caused significant lead for contamination. Blood lead levels children average 33.6 g/dl, triple WHO limits.
:Chemicals and toxic byproducts, lead; chemical weapons and industrial manufacturing
.A major site for Cold War era manufacturing where industrial chemicals have been discharged into the local water supplies. Life expectancy is short and the death rate is significantly higher than Russia’s average.
Norilsk, Russia :
:Heavy metals, particulates; mining and smelting
.Mining and smelting operations have devastated the area with particulates and heavy metal pollution. Norilsk Nickel is the biggest air polluting industrial enterprise in Russia.
Chernobyl, Ukraine : .
:Radioactive materials from the infamous nuclear reactor explosion
.The legacy of the nuclear disaster lingers and has resulted in thousands of cancer deaths. Respiratory, ear, nose, and throat diseases are common ailments.
Kabwe, Zambia : .
:Lead mining and smelting
.Unregulated lead mining and smelting operations resulted in lead dust covering large areas. Children's' blood lead levels average between 50 and 100 g/dl – up to ten times the recommended maximum.
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