The Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland have released a list of the worst pollution problems facing the world today. It’s unranked, as it reflects equally “the most serious environmental issues that impact communities around the globe” – particularly in the developing nations, where the The Blacksmith Institute works in cleaning up pollution hazards.
It’s founder Richard Fuller had this to say:
“Our goal with the 2008 report is to increase awareness of the severe toll that pollution takes on human health and inspire the international community to act,”
“Remediation is both possible and cost-effective.”
The full list is covered in detail on the Worst Polluted website:
- Artisanal Gold Mining: small-scale mining using harmful methods due to a lack of knowledge and regulation.
- Contaminated Surface Water: the pollution of rivers and wells used for drinking water.
- Groundwater Contamination: the pollution of underground water sources.
- Indoor Air Pollution: adverse air conditions in indoor spaces.
- Industrial Mining Activities: large scale mining activities leading to excessive waste.
- Metals Smelters and Processing: the extracting of materials leading to pollution.
- Radioactive Waste and Uranium Mines: the result of uranium mine and nuclear waste mis-management.
- Untreated Sewage: waste water left untreated.
- Urban Air Quality : adverse air conditions in an urban environment
- Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling: the improper disposal of batteries from cars and other applications.
The list follows previous top 10s in 2007 and 2006, which profiled the world’s most polluted places. Also suggested are a number of sub-lists, included the four least addressed pollution problems and the four most likely to affect future generations. Interestingly enough, in most cases the polluting industries are locally owned and of fairly small scare. Only rarely is a large US or European multinational corporation responsible.
The Blacksmith Institute are calling for a “global effort” to identify polluted places, and the provision of resources to clean up the sites. By publishing the list they hope to raise awareness of the issues facing communities in the developing world, and the effect pollution can have on health, particular children’s. Some estimates say environmental factors contributed to 40% of death worldwide.