Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

The city of Sumgayit in Azerbaijan, on the Aspheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea, is only 19 miles (about 30 kilometers) from the country's capital, Baku, and is the center of the local chemical industry. It is regarded as one of the most polluted places in the world.

Sumgayit was officially proclaimed a city on November 22, 1949. In 1959, the city's population was 52,000—already the third-largest city in what was then the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1973, the National Steel Corporation of Pittsburgh was involved in consultancy work on the establishment of an alunite mine that helped provide Sumgayit with more alumina. At its height during this period, the aluminum complex at Sumgayit was capable of producing 5 million evaporators a year—enough to provide ...

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