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Friday, September 14, 2007

Putin's Russia Leads the World . . . in Toxic Waste Dumps

Reuters reports that Russia continues to dominate the vast majority of the world . . . in generating toxic pollution and poisoning its population:

Four of the world's 10 most polluted places are in Russia (Dzerzhinsk, Norilsk) and two former Soviet republics (Sumgayit, Azerbaijan; Chernobyl, Ukraine), an independent environmental group said in a report released on Wednesday. Encompassing seven countries, the top 10 sites may cause some 12 million people to suffer health problems ranging from asthma and other respiratory ailments to birth defects and premature death, the New York-based Blacksmith Institute said. "These places are sapping the strength of the populations around them, and it's not rocket science to fix them," Richard Fuller, the nonprofit group's founder and director told reporters on a conference call. He said simple engineering projects could make many of the places safe, but that funds, political will, and technical ability were often lacking. Concern about polluted places is growing as the world's population swells and people in developing countries like China and India buy more cars and electronics -- habits that had been limited mainly to rich countries like the United States. The polluted sites in Russia and the former Soviet republics include Dzerzhinsk, Russia, which until the end of the Cold War was one of the country's major chemical weapons centers, and Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the world's worst nuclear accident occurred in 1986, Blacksmith said its second annual report.

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