5. Dzershinsk, Russia—population 300,000: The largest chemical weapons site in Russian history. Between 1930 and 1998, 300,000 tons of toxic waste was improperly disposed of within the borders of this town. Some pollutants exceed safe limits of exposure by 17,000,000 times.
6. Niger Delta, Nigeria—population 31,000,000–Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 2010: In the last 50 years, there have been more than 6800 oil spills in the region, totaling from 9,000,000 to 13,000,000 barrels since oil drilling began in Nigeria. The 700,000-square-kilometer Niger Delta is one of the largest and most significant wetlands in the world, with most of the Delta’s 31,000,000 population depending on the land for their livelihood.
7. Lake Karachai, Russia: Decades-long dumping ground for the Soviet Union’s nuclear waste. Dubbed one of the most polluted sites on Earth, Lake Karachai is so toxic that standing on its shores for only one hour delivers a lethal dose of radiation.
Despite thousands of concrete blocks dumped into it to prevent the shifting of radioactive sediment, the lake and its area will continue to be toxic for hundreds of year.
8. Linfen, China: A city dubbed China’s Chernobyl where laundry hung out turns black before it dries, though it had been known for its clean spring water and fertile farmland in the 1980s. A booming coal industry producing inefficient power plants and employing legal and illegal coalmines changed the city from an ecological paradise into a pile of ash.
Source: Discovery News, August 8, 2013