You might groan when you see someone trash their pop can when the bottle recycling sits right beside the waste can, but there are much worse problems in the world. Every little bit counts, and since recycling programs have started, less waste has been sent to landfills. Besides what goes on the ground and in the landfills, there is also waste that makes it into the air. The World Health Organization limits how much pollution each country is allowed to produce, and usually clouds of pollution can be seen collecting above the worst culprits. Although most of these countries are developing, destroying the ecology can be easily prevented with good government policies, and initiative by the citizens to keep their countries clean. Have you ever been impressed by a view of the stars when you drive out to the countryside? Part of this is because of less air and light pollution in these areas. Consider yourself lucky to even see the sky, because in many places you cannot. Here is a list of the worst environmental culprits due to their pollution, air quality, recycling and waste control policies, and water quality. Some may surprise you!
China was ranked 118th out of 178 countries on Yale’s environmental Protection index. This was due to two staggering factors: China ranked almost last for worst air quality in the world, and also had low levels of agriculture. Beijing alone has a level of 121 micrograms per cubic meter of air pollution. Outside of Shanghai, The Laogang landfill, which recieves seventy percent of the city’s trash, is over one thousand acres across. In an Australian study, conducted at the University of Adelaide, China was ranked as one of the top ten countries with the worst global environmental impact. It’s no wonder why China ranks so low, China has been in the recent news because of smog clouds rolling over surrounding countries. Visibility in China, Japan, and South Korea was very low, through a thick brown smog, and people were recommended to wear masks outdoors. Recently it has come to light, after an investigation conducted by the Environment Ministry, that more than two thousand firms in China were disregarding state pollution guidelines. The government has had a difficult time getting companies to agree to follow the guidelines to reduce pollution. China has had a global reputation for importing trash from other parts of the world (notably the United States) to separate into raw materials, or burn as fuel. In Southern China, Guiyu dump has become a global e-waste dump. It has been reported that children that live near this site have fifty percent higher blood lead levels than the average child.
Bangladesh is a bad environmental polluter, producing tons of waste. Among the waste produced in Bangladesh is chromium from tanneries, a substance proven to be carcinogenic. Bangladesh was ranked 169th out of 178 on the Environmental Performance Index, having the worst score of all countries for air quality, and also really low scores for biodiversity and habitat, water resources, water and sanitation, and health impacts. Bangladesh is also among the countries in South Asia whose poor water quality may be attributed to toxic arsenic leaching into wells.
Because of the petroleum industry in Kuwait, the world Health Organization reported recently pollution levels of 123ug/m3(micrograms per cubic meter). This is more than ten times higher than the pollution level in Canada. Kuwait industry is not entirely to blame for this horrible air quality. During the Gulf war, oil fields were set ablaze, creating massive clouds of pollution. Plants in Kuwait have been closed to reduce pollution, however, people in Kuwait still complain they are suffering from the air quality, which has been linked to respiratory illnesses and cancers. Kuwait was also ranked in the top 10 worst environmental performers by a study at the University of Adelaide, Australia. In this study, countries were ranked based on how much impact they created versus the total resources the country has available to them.
Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world, and is still rapidly developing. As Africa’s biggest oil producer, Nigeria has been responsible for some devastating oil spills, which have decreased the quality of the air, land, and drinking water. Black markets competition for oil also contributes to oil spills. The air pollution level in Nigeria was reported by the World Health Organization to be 124ug/m3. Nigeria is also home to a mighty trash dump. In Lagos, Nigeria, Olusosun is the biggest dump, being over 100 acres. Nigeria was ranked 134th out of 178 countries on Yale’s Environmental Performance Index. This is mostly due to oil spills contributing to poor water quality, and the subsequent health risks this brings about.
Iran is home to Ahvaz, ranked the most polluted city in the world. Ahvaz puts out 272 micrograms per cubic meter, again, more than ten times higher than Canada or the United States. The country as a whole has a pollution level of 124ug/m3 mostly due to it’s oil fields. Although Iran scores pretty middle of the road on Yale’s EPI (Environmental Performance Index), it scored very low points on the level of biodiversity and habitat available for wildlife. It should be noted as well, that most of the countries surrounding Iran also ranked poorly on this index.
India was ranked 155th out of 178 on Yale’s Environmental Profile index. This ranking was due to low scores on various factors: their worst scores received in the categories of health impact from pollution, air quality, water quality and sanitation, and the amount of biodiversity and habitat available for wildlife. In a study conducted by Adelaide University, India was ranked one of the countries with the worst environmental impact on a Global level. India is home to the Donar landfill, which is over 300 acres. Delhi, India has an air pollution level of 198 micrograms per cubic meter.
Mexico had a middle ranking on the EPI, but had a startlingly poor score for the level of agriculture. Mexico City was reported in the nineties as having the worst air pollution in the world, having a persisting haze around the city. The worst thing is that Mexico seems to be proud of its bad reputation, boasting having the largest garbage dump in the world. Mexico City’s Bordo Poniente holds 76 million tonnes of trash.
2. South Korea:
Not only is South Korea itself a large contributor to pollution, but as a developed country has an obligation to lead developing countries in South-east Asia with their environmental efforts. The Center for Global Development ranked countries on seven factors that impact the world’s poor, one of them being environmental protection policies. On this list, South Korea came in dead last. South Korea is home to the Sudokwon landfill which occupies 5,000 acres. In the aforementioned study by the University of Adelaide, Korea was one of the worst environmental performers with respect to resource availability.
Although Canada boasts good air quality, is not densely populated, has good water quality, and has plenty of biodiversity, Canada is a global bad-guy in terms of policy. Canada is the only developed country in the world whose CDI (Commitment to Development Index) declined in the environmental category. Canada is a fossil fuel rich country, and uses mostly fossil fuels to power electrical plants. Canada recently withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, as one of the only countries ever to completely withdraw. Tsk tsk Canada.
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