Kabwe, Zambia

Kabwe is a town in the Copperbelt province of Zambia and has approximately 210,000 residents. Kabwe is most commonly known for human fossils found in a cave just outside the city. However, Kabwe is sadly one of the 10 most polluted places on Earth, with severe amounts of lead, cadmium, and zinc pollution resulting from decades of unregulated industrial mining and smelting operations. It is estimated that altogether almost 250,000 people living in the area of and around Kabwe are suffering from varying degrees of lead poisoning. Kabwe, hence, is considered to be a paradigmatic example of the health hazards that uncontrolled industrial mining and smelting activities can pose to humans and to the environment.

In 1902, when Zambia was still under British colonial rule, rich ...

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