The World’s 10 Worst Cities

Arsenic-laced drinking water, lead-contaminated soils and choking air pollution are sadly just the start in some of the world's dirtiest places
coal covered man in Linfen China
This city of more than four million is in the heart of Shanxi, China's coal-production hub, and has frequently been deemed the most polluted city in the world; citizens suffer from choking clouds of coal dust as well as drinking water polluted with arsenic. But Linfen is not the only city in the country with environmental woes—the World Bank estimates that 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are found in China's industrial areas. andi808

You may already know about the pollution plight of Linfen, China. But how about the heavy metals Pittsburghers breathe in on a daily basis? Or the incomparable smog Milanesi put up with? PopSci has culled an eye-opening selection of some of the world’s most problematic cities. From the painfully high cancer rates in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan to the acid rain destroying La Oroya, Peru, writer Jason Daley will walk you through the lowest of the low; and explain why, despite it all, there’s still hope for these places.

And check out PopSci‘s complete coverage of the future of the environment at

Milan landscape
factory in Norilsk Russia
pollution in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
cars crowded in Mexico City
polluted water in Dakar Senegal
contamination in Sumgayit Azerbaijan
toxicity in La Oroya Peru
polluted water in Cubatao Valley Brazil
Contaminated water in Kabwe Zambia