Dzerzhinsk named the most chemically polluted city in the world Guinness Book of World Records
In the Russian city of Dzerzhinsk, not too far east of Moscow, the death rate exceeds the birth rate by 26-%. That’s because until the end of the Cold War, Dzerzhinsk was among Russia’s principal production sites of chemical weapons, including the deadly never gas sarin. When they didn’t know what to do with the stuff, they dumped it wherever convenient. According to the local environmental agency almost 300,000 tons of chemical waste were disposed of between 1930 and 1998. Roughly 190 toxic agents of one kind or another have been dumped into the groundwater over the decades, in some places In places, the chemicals have turning the water into a nasty sludge containing dioxins and high levels of extremely toxic phenol. According to the authorities, the levels here are 17 million times the safe limit, but why quibble? Russian environmental agencies are even more hog tied than America’s highly ineffective puppet show, so you can count on these numbers being low.
It would be nice to say that this problem is merely a remnant of a less enlightened era, but that would be incorrect. Although somewhat diminished in output, Dzerzhinsk remains a center of chemical manufacturing. At the same time, the loss of several other industries is allowing the groundwater to rise along with the water level in the canal. This has the effect of releasing massive amounts of arsenic, mercury, lead and dioxins into the Oka river basin, which provides drinking water for th nearby Nizhny Novgorod and adjoining villages such as Gavrilovka and Pyra.
There has been little in the way of cleanup efforts, in part because local authorities contend there is no problem. Once again, somebody is lying.