The Most Heavily Polluted Spots On The Planet

Earth, the planet we live on is made up of many delicate ecosystems. Over the years man made industries have done a number on all of these ecosystems planet wide. Leaving lasting effects on nearly all core elements of the planet itself. Many water supplies has been poisoned and in some cases made flammable. Some soil has been made toxic and unsuitable to sustain life and in a few instances prolonged exposure could even be detrimental to life. Air filled with pollutants that could make it hard to breathe and may cause debilitations of the upper respiratory system such as asthma. All with a rising temperature that is eating away at a layer of the earths atmosphere.


What Causes Pollution?

There are many examples of this pollution. But some places have seen this damage on a larger and more concentrated amount of pollution to the air, land and water. Many reasons make these places more polluted than others. Some may have been centers of industry for many years. In the early days industrial waste was dumped into rivers or lakes. Coal stacks and combustion exhaust leaves smog looming over the larger major cities. Chemicals were tested or dumped, causing the land to become filled with toxins making the soil unusable.

In some cases large pollution is due more to mans folly than mans greed. The best example of this is war and the testing of nuclear bombs. War can leave areas completely devastated and in many cases leave environmental disasters for decades after the ceasefire. Some examples of this include the use of chemical warfare. This comes in many forms, one form is traditional weaponized chemicals. These are chemicals spread through gas bombs and spraying devices. These can leave a lasting impact. But more recently we have seen more and more cases where chemicals are exposed in a more scorched earth type approach. Fleeing armies burning oil or sulfur fields to cover withdraw and make the area near useless and unlivable.

Nuclear warfare and testing as well as nuclear energy has been Hurting our planet in many ways. The radiation left from an explosion or emitting from waste produced by the nuclear energy process, leaves soil water and air toxic and harmful to human health for many years to come. Even more modern and safer nuclear power facilities are still vulnerable to the unpredicted damage that may come from a weather or earth shifting event.

The most Heavily Polluted Spots On The Planet

Below in no particular order, we will give examples of the places that are the most ravaged by pollution. We will explain why or how these places became so polluted. We will also get into what life is like for the people living in these places and what struggles come with the pollution. Then we will examine what if anything is being done in these places to reverse the tides of destruction. Hopefully having a better understanding of these problems could bring us to an actual solution.

Linfen China

Linfen China, has been called the most polluted place on earth many times over.  It has a coal produced smog so heavy that visibility can be as low as under a mile. The smog over this city is so thick it looms over the city creating a darkness that leaves the city in 24 hr nigh time. The massive amount of coal mines around the city do not follow international guidelines making these mines even worse than a typical coal mining and burning operation. The damage from these mines go beyond the air and include the stripped earth from strip mining.

Asian man wearing mouth mask against air pollution

Living in this city is very a very difficult thing to do. The air you breath from day to day is considered to be the worst on the planet. You never actually see the sky, your sky is actually a looming thick black cloud that leaves everything in near permanent darkness. The citizens of this city are extremely vulnerable to the black lung and numerous other respiratory illnesses. It is easy to see that living in Linfen China, may be very depressing and not to mention extremely detrimental to your personal health and overall well being.

Unfortunately there is very little being done to improve the overall conditions in Linfen China. China is one of the worst producers of pollution in the world. International rules and regulation has failed to phase the coal producers of Linfen from operating under business as usual conditions. China has at times been present in climate change negotiations and has even agreed to some terms, but typically do not adhere to these rules in common practice. For now and the foreseeable future there seems to be no end in sight for the massive plume of coal smoke lingering high and low over Linfien China.

Tiyang China

The city of Tiyang also in China is also one of the most polluted cities on the planet. Unlike the large permeant cloud of smoke over Linfen, the pollution in Tiyang China is far less visible yet may be more deadly. The city of Tiyang is a largest producer of lead in China. The city accounts for nearly fifty percent of all lead mined in all of China. All of this lead is highly poisonous to humans and many other forms of life. The lead has found its way in the soil and ground water in and around the whole city.

Though you may be able to actually see the sky from time to time, life in Tiyang is tasking on anyones health. But this prolonged exposure to lead is especially bad for the children and elderly. lead poisoning can not only be deadly but has been proven to hinder the development of young children leading to educational handicaps such as lower IQ scores and a hindered capacity for critical thinking. Just as in Linfen, the low quality of life in Tiyang is largely the result of the many unregulated mines in and around the city.

Unfortunately just as in Linfen, Tiyang is the result of Chinas unwillingness to change its industrial ways. No matter what regulation is put on these producers they largely go unnoticed or are outright ignored. This lack of participation is starting to effect surrounding countries  as well as air across the whole entire globe.

Sukinda, India

Sukinda, India is another mining town and also is among the most polluted places on the planet. Sukinda is also in the second most pollutant producing country behind China. The type of Pollution found in Sukinda is a pollutant called Hexavalent Chromium. Hexavalent Chromium is caused when mines that produce Chromite Mines Hexavalent Chromium do not properly dispose of its waste and the carcinogenic metal finds its way in to the drinking water.


Life for the citizens of Sukinda is hard at best. Most of the hardship is due to the fact that the drinking water contains double the amount of acceptable Hexavalent Chromium material allowed by international standards and regulations. It is estimated that eighty eight percent of all deaths in the area surrounding the mines are caused by prolonged exposure to Hexavalent Chromium. Unfortunately most of the population around the mines are the mine workers themselves and their families. Most of the workers live in poverty and are unable to properly treat themselves and obtain adequate medical care when these illnesses take hold.

Unfortunately much like China, India is notorious for not cooperating with international regulations and environmental agencies. Just like China, India is a developing nation who see’s it as a right to use the wheels of industry to bring their nation in to the modern world. But unlike China, India has shown some movement towards cooperation in recent years. Even signing the paris accord (an international agreement to reduce and offset carbon emissions) in 2016.

Chernobyl, Ukraine

It is not always mines and the burning of elements and raw materials from the earth that cause great harm to our planet. Sometimes pure human error can lead to a chain of events that forever changes life in a particular area and maybe even the world. The best example of such an earth changing event is the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl, Ukraine.


The cause of this pollution is radiation. The effects on humans is devastating. Those who do not die right away from radiation poisoning, often are hindered for the rest of their usually shorter life by the effects of the exposure. Life in Chernobyl, Ukraine is not much of life at all. Since the meltdown in the eighties, the city and a large area around it has been restricted to human access. The fallout from the event is expected to last as long as fifty years or even longer.