Worst Polluted Places
The environmental non-profit Blacksmith Institute published a list of 2013's worst polluted places on Earth. Most are found in developing areas and include industrial cities, e-waste processing centers and mining towns. Shown here is Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986 released 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
People burn wires and other electronics to obtain valuable cooper and other materials, but this process also releases toxic fumes at the Agbogbloshie dumpsite in Accra, Ghana.
Each year, nearly 500 tons each of copper and nickel oxides and 2 million tons of sulfur dioxide are released into the air in Norilsk, Russia.
Niger River Delta, Nigeria
Oil extraction in the Niger River Delta has resulted in thousands of spills and groundwater contamination.
Matanza Riachuelo, Argentina
The Matanza-Riachuelo River Basin has been polluted by chemicals like zinc, lead, copper, nickel and total chromium.
Gold miners in Kalimantan, Indonesia, like this young man shown here, are exposed to high levels of mercury.
In 2006, lead levels in the blood of children in Kabwe, exceed the recommended levels by five to 10 times. Here, a boy digs for lead.
Up to 95 percent of Bangladesh's 270 registered tanneries can be found in the city of Hazaribagh. Chemicals like the known carcinogen hexavalent chromium enter the water supply from these leather-processing facilities.
The Guinness Book of World Records named Dzerzhinsk, Russia, the most chemically polluted city on Earth. Up until the end of the Cold War, Dzerzhinsk was one of Russia's principal manufacturing sites for chemical weapons. Between 1930 and 1998, nearly 300,000 tons of chemical waste had been improperly disposed of there.