The world’s worst pollution problems kill millions of people each year and sicken hundreds of millions of others, mostly in developing countries, according to a new report from green group Blacksmith Institute. For the past few years, the group has ranked the world’s top 10 most-polluted sites in order to focus global attention and fuel efforts to clean them up. This year, however, the group broke slightly with its own tradition and instead focused on the worst pollution problems. In no particular order, the world’s top pollution problems include small-scale gold mining, contaminated surface water, contaminated groundwater, indoor air pollution, industrial mining, low-tech lead-battery recycling, metal smelting and processing, poor urban air quality, radioactive waste and uranium mines, and untreated sewage. “The global health burden from pollution is astonishing, and mainly affects women and children,” said Richard Fuller, director of Blacksmith Institute. “The world community needs to wake up to this fact. Clean air, water, and soil are human rights.”

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