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New Report Cites the World's Worst Polluted Places

Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013:
Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges

 

Nov. 4, 2013, New York, NY - Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland have published the 2013 report of the world's worst polluted places, The Top Ten Toxic Threats: Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges. The report presents a new list of the top ten polluted places and provides updates on sites previously published by Blacksmith and Green Cross. A range of pollution sources and contaminants are cited, including hexavalent chromium from tanneries and heavy metals released from smelting operations. The report estimates that sites like those listed in the top ten pose a health risk to more than 200 million people in low- and medium-income countries.

Download the report at www.worstpolluted.org

See photos at Blacksmith's Flickr page, or at www.worstpolluted.org

From Ten to Many
The Top Ten Toxic Threats is the latest in a series of annual reports documenting global pollution issues. Many of the previous reports have listed pollution problems, rather than sites, based on their estimated impact on human health. The 2012 report for instance found that the disease burden of pollution is comparable in scope to that of more well-known public health threats, such as tuberculosis or malaria.

This is the first list of polluted sites released by the two groups since 2007. In the intervening years, the report explains, much has been learned about pollution issues in low- and medium-income countries. Efforts made by country governments in particular have greatly expanded the existing knowledge of pollution issues. In addition, Blacksmith Institute has conducted more than 2,000 risk assessments at contaminated sites in 49 countries.

"In this year's report, we cite some of the most polluted places we've encountered. But it is important to point out that the problem is really much larger than these ten sites," says Richard Fuller, president of Blacksmith Institute. "We estimate that the health of more than 200 million people is at risk from pollution in the developing world."

Progress Made, Much More Required
The authors of the report explain that significant progress has been made at many of the original top ten sites. As a result, several of these have been removed from the list. New sites mentioned include Agbogbloshie, an e-waste processing site in Accra, Ghana, and Kalimantan, Indonesia, which has become contaminated with mercury resulting from small scale gold mining.

The World's Worst Polluted Places in 2013 (unranked)

Agbogbloshie, Ghana
Chernobyl*, Ukraine
Citarum River, Indonesia
Dzershinsk*, Russia
Hazaribagh, Bangladesh
Kabwe*, Zambia
Kalimantan, Indonesia
Matanza Riachuelo, Argentina
Niger River Delta, Nigeria
Norilsk*, Russia

*included in the original 2006 or 2007 lists

About Green Cross Switzerland
Green Cross Switzerland facilitates overcoming consequential damages caused by industrial and military disasters and the cleanup of contaminated sites from the period of the Cold War. Central issues are the improvement of the living quality of people affected by chemical, radioactive and other types of contamination, as well as the promotion of a sustainable development in the spirit of cooperation instead of confrontation. This includes the involvement of all stakeholder groups affected by a problem. www.greencross.ch

About Blacksmith Institute
Blacksmith Institute is a New York based nonprofit that works to mitigate exposures at contaminated sites in low and medium income countries. To date, Blacksmith has carried out 50 such projects in 20 countries. www.blacksmithinstitute.org

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