The most polluted places in the world

Even though the world's developed nations are notorious for being among the most polluting, but they can afford the economic cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental clean up efforts. On the other hand, developing economies that are also producing large amounts of carbon do not have the resources or experience to counter-balance their increasing emissions.

[via ngpowereu] Therefore it is little wonder that the city of Linfen in China, in the middle of the nation's coal industry, and Sumgayt, Azerbaijan, have been named the most polluted places in the world. As one of Russia's satellite states that was left under-developed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has not been able to deal with its escalating carbon production as a result of its mass-manufacturing of industrial and agricultural chemicals and its heavy reliance on oil.

Linfen has the worst air quality in the whole of China due to choking clouds of coal dust that linger over the city. The high levels of pollution are also taking a serious toll on human health: clinics are recording growing cases of bronchitis, pneumonia and lung cancer.

Controlling emissions

World's Most Polluted Places

An alarming number of the most polluted cities are in China, where concern for the environment comes second to fuelling the country's huge economic growth. They have the financial resources to deal with the pollution, but are instead choosing to put more money into meeting the insatiable energy of its ever-growing population.

According to a report by the Blacksmith Institute, communism's lack of environmental programs and the collapse of industrial controls lead to the former Soviet Union's waste products seeping into the environment.

The UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, that so famously flopped in December last year, was vital to putting as many nations as possible on the same path to curbing carbon emissions. As energy demands increase and populations continue to grow, it cannot be left up to the developed world alone to invest capital into controlling the emissions their industrial activity produces.

Europe has strong renewable energy policies in place and look likely to meet the target of producing 20 percent of energy from clean sources by 2020. The USA also has a promising renewable energy market and legislation could be on its way to further regulate emissions. Even China and other less-environmentally-savvy countries like South Africa and India are now starting to develop their own clean energy technology programmes.

Dangers to health

If not for the environment, then nations must invest to control pollution for the sake of people's health. In all of the cities mentioned on the list of the world's most polluted places, the health of millions of people is at risk.

Lower IQs, short attention spans, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, impaired physical growth, hearing and visual problems, stomach aches, irritation of the colon, kidney malfunction, anaemia and brain damage, can all stem from poor air quality and contaminated food and water supplies.

Governments all over the world must establish legislation that can encourage the development of high-level technologies to help control emissions, but also legislation that can control things such as illegal operations that also help to make places heavily polluted.

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