Karabash, Russian Federation
FOR RELEASE WITH FEATURE BC-ENVIRONMENT-RUSSIA.
A man walks past an abandoned mine in the town of Karabash in Russia's
Urals. The sign exhorts the town's 16,000-strong population to "Work
and be victorious in the name of Lenin". Karabash, named by ecologists
as one of the most heavily polluted places on the planet, is home to a
copper smelter which chokes the town with thousands of cubic tonnes of
waste. The plant was closed in 1987 over ecological concerns but
reopened in 1998. Heaps of slag and soil thick with lead and mercury
have replaced the traditional forest-covered plains of the Urals in
Karabash, named an ecological disaster area by the Russian government.
Picture taken March 18, 2003. FOR RELEASE WITH FEATURE
BC-ENVIRONMENT-RUSSIA REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin