The Top 10 World’s Worst Polluted Places in 2007 (as voted by the Blacksmith Technical Advisory Board, an environmental health organization) are:
La Oroya, Peru
China. O China. That’s just 2 in the top 10. There are other Chinese provinces cited.
Potentially Affected People: 3,000,000
Type of Pollutant: Air pollution, chemical/heavy metal, river pollution
Source of Pollution: Automobile and industrial emissions
Lanzhou, the capitol of China’s Gansu province, is one of the most polluted cities in
China and was once named by World Resources Institute as one of the world’s most
polluted cities. The city is highly industrialized although not nearly as prosperous as
many of China’s other major cities. Major industries include petrochemical
manufacturing and oil refineries. Heavy industrial emissions and the use of coal as
the primary fuel source are the main sources of pollution. Illegal industrial
discharges are commonplace and frequently reported in the local press. Lanzhou is
on a tributary of the Yellow River and is a major contributor to increasing pollution
The city is located in an arid valley and wind circulation is minimal. Frequent
sandstorms (thirteen in 2006) and a major lack of precipitation further aggravate the
climatic conditions. These natural circumstances, together with industrial and
automobile emissions combine to produce intolerable air pollution. The mayor has
made public calls for residents to walk to work.
Respiratory ailments are commonplace, as can be expected. A study comparing
three polluted Chinese cities found that Lanzhou had the highest rates of respiratory
diseases, including pneumonia.