Ahhh, urban living. Everything nearby, convenient public services, lots of great places to eatâ€¦and legions of people, throwing out tons of garbage, every day. Most cities can stay on top of their garbage pilesâ€¦but some, not so much. Here are ten cities germophobes and neat freaks should avoid.
Mumbai might just be the litter capital of the world, which makes sense, as its insanely overcrowded. Every public service, from trains to roads, is strained to the breaking point. Which wouldnâ€™t be so problematic except the same is true of the sewers and drainage system, and Mumbai gets monsoons. Bring galoshes, and possibly a full-body hazmat suit.
Cuidad Juarez, Mexico
Most of Mexico is actually pretty nice. Yeah, itâ€™s the Third World, but itâ€™s the kind of country where people generally keep things neat. Unfortunately, they have a serious drug crime problem, and that can make some citiesâ€¦interesting.
The most â€śinterestingâ€ť is Cuidad Juarez, which is essentially a city run by criminals. And criminals arenâ€™t interested in, say, picking up the trash or filling in potholesâ€¦which is ironic in light of the fact the drug dealers that run the place? Yeah, theyâ€™re all driving fancy cars. Hope your fancy car includes some very fancy shocks, Mr. Coke Exporter.
Letâ€™s take a moment from picking on the Third World to picking on Pittsburgh, the place where they put fries in their sandwiches. No, really, they do that. They also have the worst air in America in terms of solid objects floating in it.
And thatâ€™s not the smell of Steelers fans after too many beers at the game (or Pirates fans upon waking up and realizing their home team is still the Pirates). Itâ€™s because of all the soot and exhaust in the air, so much of it that Pittsburgh comes in second on year-round levels of small particles in the air and first in short-term particle pollution. This is partially due to cars, partially due to everything being powered by coal, and partially due to what remains of the steel industry. Also, some of it comes from Ohio, because Ohioâ€™s just nasty like that.
And yes, itâ€™s worse than Los Angeles.
Norlisk has a proud history ofâ€¦erâ€¦being a slave labor camp. Yeah. Believe it or not, things have actually gotten worse.
Pollution is pretty standard when your main industry is pulling metal out of the ground, but Norlisk still manages to over achieve, dumping 4 million tons of metal dust into the air yearly, with ingredients like yummy cadmium and arsenic. Itâ€™s so bad trees canâ€™t survive, and yet the Russians endure.
The Chinese arenâ€™t really noted for their respect of, well, anything that doesnâ€™t make them money, so when even the Chinese government think Linfen is a craphole, you know youâ€™ve got problems.
Most of China runs on coal, and most of that coal comes from Linfen. Itâ€™s mined there, and itâ€™s burned there, and both are done so often that you canâ€™t hang your laundry out to dry because itâ€™ll turn black.
Los Angeles, USA
What, you thought that just because we were beating on Pittsburgh, LA wasnâ€™t going to make the list? Of course not! But, donâ€™t worry, the factories in Jersey have been shut down long enough we wonâ€™t be hitting that stereotype.
Why does LA make the list if Pittsburgh has crappier air? Because LA has more nasty gasses, not little particles! Namely, itâ€™s got ozone, which is great when itâ€™s way, way up there in the ozone layer, but has this nasty tendency to destroy lungs. LA remains number one in this respect, but, on the bright side, theyâ€™re not Pittsburgh.
La Oroya, Peru
Lead is not a friendly metal. Sure, it protects us from radiation, but you donâ€™t want it anywhere near you outside of the dentist. Which is bad news for La Oroya, which has as its main industryâ€¦lead smelting.
That smelter has been at it since 1922, and thereâ€™s so much lead in the air, soil, and water that 99% of the kids there test for three times the acceptable amount. Oh, and thereâ€™s neither money nor resources to clean it up; this stuffâ€™s going to be there for centuries. Kind of the gift that keeps on giving.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is shafted not by regulations or by drug lords or by companies, but by geography. There are a lot of people driving a lot of cars, which means a lot of exhaust. Unfortunately, Mexico City is sitting in a valley, and itâ€™s about a mile and a half above sea level. This means thin air and weak winds. Which means that everything put in the air over Mexico City stays there.
First, it must be said that Bulgaria itself is kind of a dirty place. People mostly burn coal to deal with the long winters, and most of the cars are the kind of Soviet nightmares that lack seat-belts, let alone fancy schmancy pollution-reducing catalytic converters.
So if youâ€™re the energy center of Bulgaria, with a coal mine, AND a thriving metallurgy industry on top of thatâ€¦well, being the filthiest of the filthiest isnâ€™t hard to pull off. Welcome to Pernik, where if itâ€™s not on fire, itâ€™s metal, and itâ€™s all trying to kill you. No wonder these people drink.
Vapi is a thriving and busy industrial center. Unfortunately, most of those industries are chemical. And what isnâ€™t chemical is actually the water treatment plant trying to clean the crud from the chemical industries.
As a result, Vapi is a bit messy. Pretty much all of the water, soil and air is saturated in stuff you donâ€™t want to breathe, drink, or eat. And itâ€™s got plenty of residents too!
On the bright side, at least they donâ€™t have Mumbaiâ€™s drainage problems. Well, we hope, anyway.
This article was written by Dan Seitz.