There’s always a part of the world in need of being cleaned up. Whether it’s air, water, or soil pollution, finding a cleanup that actually works is the most difficult part. Here are the top 10 contamination cleanup projects in the world that I came across. Many were put into action by the same organization. 10. Lead in Bajos De Haina, Domincan Republic Improper recycling of batteries containing lead has caused the soil in Bajos De Haina to become extremely toxic. The lead content in the soil is the highest in the world. The cleanup efforts in this part of the world have drastically reduced the amount of lead in the residents systems. The levels went from 71 micrograms per deciliter to 28, which is a fantastic improvement. 9. Heavy metal cleanup in Kanpur, India High levels of arsenic, mercury, and chromium can be found in the ground water, as well as in the Ganges River. Chromium alone causes premature dementia, cancer, kidney damage, and liver failure. Once new wells were dug and an electron donor chemical added, the levels of chromium had dropped to a level that was near to being undetectable. 8. Mercury cleanup in Germany After centuries of using mercury at manufacturing sites, Germany has begun to clean up mercury-tainted industrial sites and finding an alternative to this toxic substance. Decontaminating the mercury-laden soil is a long but doable process. 7. Lead smelter cleanup in Kabwe, Zambia Without regulations being in place, there was no limit to the amount of emissions smelters and mines could give off. Even though these mines and shelters aren’t in service any more, the effects of their existence is still present. The average level of lead in the blood of people from this area was between 60 and 120 micrograms per deciliter. However, there were some children who had concentrations as high as 300 micrograms per deciliter. Cleanup of the soil and water is still taking place, as well as educating people on how to not consume so much lead in their daily living. 6. Polluted water cleanup on the Cuyahoga River in Michigan This river was an extremely contaminated water source once upon a time. In fact, it was so polluted that a fire broke out along the river in 1969. The fire sparked a slew of activities which in turn inspired the creation of the EPA, the Ohio EPA, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the Clean Water Act. With these in place, the river has become much cleaner over the years. 5. Groundwater cleanup in Muthia, India Sludge has been leaching through the soil and into the ground water from a number of effluent treatment plants. The water has actually turned colors, due to this sludge. Not only is the groundwater contaminated, but the monsoon rains have helped to wash the toxins elsewhere as well. In order to get rid of the contaminated soil, heavy machinery needed to be brought in to remove the soil. The tainted soil was then disposed of properly in a location where it will no longer pose a threat. 4. Monazite concrete cleanup in Krasnoufimsk, Russia Storing of this radioactive substance began in the 60s without thought to the health implications that might occur. Nearly 1,000 cases of cancer have been linked to the monazite. It was originally kept on hand to make nuclear weapons, but then wasn’t needed when the substance needed for weapons changed. Enclosures were built around dilapidated wooden warehouses to reduce the chance of fire or other potential dangers. Additional efforts include building a ferroconcrete fence around the area where the monazite is stored. It will take time to see just how much of an impact these and other cleanup efforts have made in this area of Russia. 3. Arsenic cleanup in Yangzong Lake in China This lake was once considered as a viable source for drinking water and as a great place to swim. By the time the year 2008 approached, it had become one of the most polluted lakes in China. Cleanup efforts initiated by the Yunnan provincial government hope to lower the arsenic levels from .128 grams per liter to .050 grams per liter within a few years. 2. Reducing emissions from sulfuric acid plants in Peru The liquid discharge from a smelter in La Oroya, Peru had caused the water quality of the Mantaro and Yauli Rivers to become extremely poor. Besides contaminating the water, the plants were also giving off gases and particulates which decreased the air quality as well. The plant has since had strict regulations put on it and has been forced to follow them. Both the air and water quality have greatly improved. 1. PCB cleanup on the Fox River in Wisconsin, USA Approximately 13 miles of this river are contaminated by PCB and the clean up is supposed to take 9 years to complete. The lengthy process includes dredging, separating, and taking the water out of the contaminate silt. The dredging of contaminants will take place 24 hours a day, Monday thru Friday during the months of April to November. What additional activities do you think should be on this list of the top 10 contamination cleanup projects in the world?
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