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US ecologists: Azerbaijani city one of the world’s most polluted

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Tuesday, February 19
The Azerbaijani city of Sumgayit was among the top ten worst polluted places in the world last year, as voted for by the technical advisory board of the US ecological institute Blacksmith.

Sumgayit, located near the Caspian Sea about 30 kilometers from Baku, produced synthetic rubber, chemicals and pesticides, and dumped manufacturing waste heavily contaminating the local area.

It was declared an environmental disaster zone in 1992; cancer rates in Sumgayit are 22–51 percent higher than the national average in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani officials say the city’s ecological problems stem from the Soviet period, according to the news agency Regnum.