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Hazaribagh, Bangladesh – Tanneries


Close to 95 percent of the recorded tanneries in Bangladesh are in the area around Hazaribagh, a place in the country’s capital, Dhaka. These are some of the most outdated and banned refining methods in most countries, not to mention these tanneries dump close to 22,000 cubic liters a day of toxic chemicals into the main river. They can cause cancers from the toxin hexavalent chromium. Residents are forced to deal with high rates of respiratory and skin diseases, as well as acid burns, nausea, dizziness and rashes.


Citarum River Basin, Indonesia – Industrial and Domestic Pollution

It has been found that the levels of lead in the river was more than a thousand times the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards, and further investigation has exposed that extremely high levels of toxic metals such as manganese, iron and aluminum are present. The capital of Jakarta is a city in Indonesian with a huge population of 10 million. The Citarum River basin is covered with a large variety of toxic waste, from both industrial and domestic resources being dumped into the river. Thankfully, the government has taken the initiative of cleaning up the river, funded by a loan of around $500 million from the Asian Development Bank.


Fukushima Daiichi, Japan – Nuclear Disaster

After a major earthquake hit, a massive 15-meter tsunami plummeted the supply and cooling of three reactors in Fukushima, creating a nuclear incident on March 11, 2011. The three cores crumbled in the first few days. Over 280,000 tons of chemical waste water is being kept in the plant as of today. In addition, around 100,000 tons are thought to be in the basement of the four reactors in the turbine buildings. They even tried to send robots in, but they melted when they got too close. People living within the area are greatly at risk of all sorts of cancers. One older gentleman has taken it upon himself to feed the animals who were left behind daily, most of which are abandoned pets. He figures it will take decades to develop cancer and at his age he does not have that much time left.

The World Health Organization (WHO), claims it is the most contaminated space in the world. There is reportedly a 70 percent higher risk of getting thyroid cancer within girls who were exposed as younger children, a 7 percent risk in males who were exposed from a young age, and a 6 percent higher risk in breast cancer in women. Overall, females are most likely to develop cancers in this deadly area.


Niger River Delta, Nigeria – Oil Spills

Every day, there is close to two million barrels of oil being sucked out of this area; approximately 240,000 barrels of that is getting leaked into the Niger River Delta. From 1976 up to 2001, there were close to 7,000 incidents where oil spilled into the river, and most of that was never recovered. These spills heavily polluted the air, creating carcinogens such as polycyclic hydrocarbons. A study from 2013 estimates that the amount of pollution from the spills is having a terrible impact on crops, which accounts for about a 24 percent increase in malnutrition in kids. Cancer and infertility can also be a result of crude oil contamination.


Norilsk, Russia – Mining and Smelting

Once a home to a slave labor camp back in 1935, the Russian city of Norilsk is currently the second largest city found above the Arctic Circle. This mine started up in the dirty thirties, and contains the world’s largest heavy metals smelting compound, which accounts for 500 tons of copper and nickel oxides and pumps about two million tons of sulfur dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere yearly. A miner here can expect to live at least a decade shorter than the average human. This is one of Russia’s most polluted places; the snow even tastes like sulfur and it is completely black. The emissions from sulfur dioxide can cause diseases such as lung cancer.