I’m not posting this to depress you, which I’m sure I will accomplish by posting this, but more because it reminds me of all those Star Trek episodes where they land on a planet and fruitlessly scan for signs of life. “This planet is almost completely dead, Captain.”
In 1910, the Karabashmed copper smelter opened at the foot of the Ural Mountains. By 1916, it was producing one third of Russia’s copper. Unfortunately for the 15,700 residents of Karabash, copper smelting has gradually destroyed the land and air. The plant has long pumped derivatives from lead, sulfur, arsenic, and copper into the air, with no clean-up processes attempted. Not only is the air toxic â€” eye-stinging and hard to breathe â€” it also brings down acid rain, destroying the soil and thinning the once-dense forest with lifeless bald patches. (Source)
For the whole story and a gallery of pictures, check out the article (which is also the source of all quoted text and pics).