What are the worst sources of pollution facing the world? A report released this week by Blacksmith Institute sheds light on major causes of toxic pollution and the challenges facing the world's low and moderate-income countries.
The report, entitled "The World's Worst Toxic Pollution Problems Report 2011," also addresses the health impacts on people who live near sources of toxic pollution. Measuring the "the sum of life years lost and years lived with disability," the report found that individuals near polluted sites discussed in the report could lose "an average of 12.7 years to death or disability," according to a press release.
In their report, Blacksmith Institute explains that in lower and moderate-income countries outside of North America and Western Europe, "pollution hotspots are poorly documented, and sometimes are completely unknown to local and national governments." With their report and field work, they hope to raise awareness about some of the gravest pollution threats in the world.
The report also found that a majority of toxic pollution sites cannot be blamed on multinational corporations. Rather, it is "poorly regulated, locally owned small and medium-scale operations" that are the most egregious polluters.
Blacksmith's report is their sixth annual study addressing toxic industrial pollution around the world. Since 2007, Blacksmith's reports have been a joint effort with Green Cross Switzerland.
A different report, from the United Nations Development Program, recently declared that the world's rich countries have "consistently failed to meet their stated pledges" of fighting "the impact of climate change in developing countries."
Be sure to check out this list from earlier this year of the most polluted cities in the world. Last month, researchers from the University of Ottawa found that living in heavily polluted areas can increase lung cancer risk by up to 20 percent.
List and statistics courtesy of Blacksmith Institute. For more information and to read the full report, visit worstpolluted.org.