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The World's Most Polluted Places

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There isn't a square inch of earth that isn't affected by our current environmental problems, but some places need help more than others. We're taking a look at some of the most ravaged environments in the world.

Chernobyl, Ukraine

Chernobyl's nuclear power plant exploded back in April of 1986, which left 57 people dead and forced the evacuation and resettlement of more than 300,000 people. Since then, the World Health Organization estimates that at least 4,000 people have died of cancer as a result of the high levels of radioactivity that remain in the area. The entire city of Chernobyl is still deserted to this day (with the exception of scientists and people studying the disaster).

Kabwe, Zambia

Child blood levels of lead are five to 10 times the allowable maximum in Kabwe because of previous zinc and lead mining in the area. While the mines have since shut down, lead dust in the soil and water have been poisoning residents ever since.

Sukinda, India

Waste products from the mining industry have contaminated groundwater in the Sukinda Valley with Hexavalent chromium. The pollution has been linked to infertility, birth defects, asthma, and gastrointestinal problems in local residents. Air and soil quality has been affected by the pollution, too.

Tianying, China

Tianying, China is yet-another city that has been hard-hit by mining-related pollution. Lead from mining has been linked to low IQs, brain damage, birth defects, and a host of other ailments in the people living in this area.

Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

Sumgayit was once an industrial center that produced synthetic rubber, chemicals, detergents, and pesticides. Unfortunately, untreated waste from these industries was improperly disposed of and, as a result, the city has a 22-51% higher rate of cancer than the rest of Azerbaijan. The pollution has also been linked to birth defects and genetic disorders in children.

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