10 Worst Places on Earth – 2007

linfen-coalminer.jpgWorst Places on Earth Are Home to Millions
By Stephen Leahy

Sep 12 (IPS) – Rapidly industrialising India and China have claimed four of the top 10 most polluted places on the planet for the first time, according to a report by U.S. and European environmental groups.

In 2006, Russia topped the list with the three sites in the top 10, but this year, two very large toxic sites affecting hundreds of thousands of people in India and China were included that had been missed in the previous global survey, said Richard Fuller, director of the New York- based Blacksmith Institute, a independent environmental group that released the list Sep. 12 report in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland.

“We were surprised these sites had not been reported before,” Fuller told IPS.

One is Tianjin in the Anhui Province of China, which produces about 50 percent of the country’s lead, often from low-level and illegal production facilities. A lack of environmental enforcement has resulted in severe lead poisoning, with soil and homes contaminated at levels 10 to 24 times China’s national standards.

Up to 140,000 people may be affected, suffering from brain damage and mental retardation. Continue reading