The Blacksmith Institute recently published its list of the world’s most polluted places, with four of the top ten located in the former Soviet Union:
Never made it to Sumgayit when I was in Azerbaijan, but the area outside of Baku was the most polluted place I’d ever seen…huge pools of crude oil, rusting equipment, broken pipelines…the place was just a damn mess. Chernobyl, of course, is also extremely polluted, but you could easily mistake it for a nature preserve if not for the “Warning! Radiation!” signs planted throughout the exclusion zone.
In other Chernobyl related news, the Ukrainian government signed a $600 million contract with the French company Novarka for the construction of a new shield to cover reactor four and the current dilapidated sarcophagus. Work is expected to start in October, with a targeted completion date of 2012. The EBRD is picking up most of the tab.