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Most polluted city in Russia warns tourists that prolonged stays could jeopardize health

Air pollution

(NaturalNews) As much as some Americans and elected leaders like to push a phony global warming agenda that they claim is being caused by human industrial activity, that doesn't mean pollution isn't real.

It is. And what's more, it's far worse in other places around the globe than in the U.S., which is often blamed for being the world's top polluter, though that dubious honor actually goes to China.

Third on the list is Russia. In fact, some places are so toxic that travel news sites and others related to tourism have warned that visitors could suffer substantial health problems if they stay too long.

One of those Russian cities is the Siberian enclave of Norilsk, population around 175,000. Founded in the mid-1930s as a slave labor camp, the city has become one of the world's largest producers of nickel, having some of the world's biggest deposits of the metal. So polluted is the city, that the Blacksmith Institute, which focuses on environmental issues, named it one of the top 10 most polluted cities on the planet in 2007. And WikiTravel advises potential tourists "that a substantial stay could jeopardize your health," adding that the average lifespan there is far less than the Russian average because of this pollution.

Chronic diseases, poor air quality, shorter lifespans

Not much has changed since the Blackstone Institute designation. In recent days, the Daldykan River turned a bright red virtually overnight, and Norilsk Nickel has since claimed responsibility ... sort of.

It's the nickel and other heavy metals that are to blame, however. While it's been Norilsk's financial lifeline, it is also poisoning its people and environment. Mining there began in the 1930s using political prisoners of then-Soviet premier, Josef Stalin. By 1953, the city was producing 35 percent of the Soviet Union's total nickel output, as well as 12 percent of its copper, 30 percent of its cobalt and 90 percent of its platinum group metals. Today the city produces 20 percent of the world's nickel and half of its palladium, Eco Watch reported.

Norilsk Nickel's 1942 plant, which was un-originally named for the year it began operations, was only shuttered in late August of this year. The closed plant was responsible for releasing more than 4 million tons of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, selenium and zinc into the air each year. Over the decades, the effect of that kind of pollution has been dramatic. No vegetation will grow within a 20-mile radius of the city, and acid rain covers an area that is as big as the country of Germany. The heavy metal pollution is so pervasive that the soil itself can even be mined. So it's no wonder that lifespans are short, and even short visits can be toxic to your health.

In fact, reports the UK's Daily Mail, life expectancy there is a full decade less than in other parts of Russia, while the risk of developing cancer is two times higher, and respiratory disease is widespread due in part to a lack of personal air purification systems. Some estimates, the paper reports, say that the polluted air over the city may be responsible for 37 percent of child deaths and 21.6 percent of adult mortality rates.

Not too interested in environmental stewardship

The fact is, Norilsk Nickel has a well-established history of creating environment chaos. That includes a recent incident in 2014, in which 145,000 pounds of nickel and additional contaminants leached into the Kokemaki River in Finland.

Officials in Finland reported finding copper, lead, cadmium and cobalt in water, and mussels that lived and bred in the Kokemaki River have died.

Amazingly, however, the company claims it is doing all it can – and has been since 2005 – to be kinder to the environment. Days after the "red" river incident, the company blamed it on abnormally heavy rains in the region which caused a dam that contained the contaminants to overflow.









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