Air and Water Pollution in Three Cities

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Air and water pollution in three cities

■ Single Zheng
Modern lifestyle and technological development are increasingly giving rise to problems of pollution, especially in the developing world. Groundwater contamination, artisanal gold mining, urban air pollution, radioactive waste and uranium mining and other six environmental problems have been considered as the “Top 10 Pollution Problems” in year 2009. (Blacksmith Institute Green Cross Switzerland WWPP Report, 2009) In this essay, the writer is going to illustrate the causes and effects of the water and air pollution in Candelaria (Chile), Rangoon (Burma) and Chernobyl (Ukraine), identify what measures are taken in these cities and find out which the most effective strategies are.

Candelaria is a city of great water and air pollution problems. Mining, which may unavoidably cause the heavy metal to leach into the drinking water and more particulate matter and other exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide to rise into the air1, is one of the mainstay industries in Candelaria. There, the copper mine tailings in Candelaria have been contaminating the drinking water during the past decades, bringing great inconvenience and hazards to the local residents. While the original rock is crushed, the valuable constituents are separated. But, at the same time, toxic materials such as cyanide, which is used to dissolve these metals and their ores, are also flooded into the surrounding streams. Cyanide is a highly poisonous chemical which can affect the heart and central nervous system if a human is exposed to it. “Short-term exposure causes brain damage and coma. Miners exposed to high levels of heavy metals could experience breathing difficulties, chest pains, vomiting and enlargement of thyroid glands.” (US CDC) Also, breathing in the air which contains higher levels of PM and other motor exhaust will reduce the ability of oxygen delivery in human body, and cause respiratory diseases as well.2...