20 Most Polluted Cities in the World

If you only have one of something, that should be enough motivation to make you want to try and preserve it. Sadly, the human race doesn’t seem to feel that way about our planet, despite the fact that we only have one earth. Advocates have been preaching the message of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ for decades now, but mankind continues to fill the oceans with plastic and pump the air full of greenhouse gases.

Here are 20 of the most polluted cities from around the globe that you probably don’t want to move to any time soon.

Onitsha, Nigeria

If you think of Africa as an untouched jewel of nature, think again. Some African cities have become highly industrialized, which has led to major pollution problems like the one they have in Onitsha.

In Onitsha, the air quality is 30 times worse than what the World Health Organization determines to be the safe threshold. This is thanks to diesel smoke, construction, traffic and a lack of proper waste disposal methods.

Linfen, China

You’ve probably read stories about the pollution and air quality problems occurring in Beijing over the last few years, but China’s biggest city isn’t its worst offender. That title goes to the city of Linfen located in the Shanxi province at the heart of China’s coal industry.

Once a scenic community known as ‘the fruit and flower town’, Linfen’s air is now so bad that breathing it is the equivalent of smoking three packs a of cigarettes a day.

Underbar dk / Own Work

Underbar dk / Own Work

Chernobyl, Ukraine

It’s no surprise that the infamous town of Chernobyl makes this list. This ill-fated Ukrainian city was home to the worst nuclear disaster in history after a flawed reactor caused a 1986 explosion that was thought to be 100 times more radioactive than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in WWII.

Today, the town is mostly uninhabited, but radioactive material can still be found in the topsoil.

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