The Six Most Disgusting Side Effects of Pollution
Pollution is, of course, a problem in everyday life. We deal with smog, blasting noise, and trash all the time. But that's just the annoying stuff. There are other things out there that are far less annoying and more absolutely terrifying and revolting.
By Dan Seitz
6. The Pacific Garbage Patch
Hey, remember that song "Message in a Bottle"? About the guy throwing bottles into the ocean? Yeah, if The Police had known anything about the ocean's currents, it would have ended after the second verse.
It's easy to think that all the crap we throw in the ocean just goes somewhere else with a shore, but increasingly, it goes to the Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge wad of crap created by the intersection of multiple currents. Mostly it's just the stuff that floats. Like plastic! And chemical sludge!
But it can't be that bad, right? How big could it be?
Well...roughly twice the size of Texas. And growing. But don't worry! Small animals are adapting to eat the stuff. It's just the big animals that it's killing.
5. Centralia Coal Fire
Source: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Centralia, Pennsylvania was, until around 1962, a small, nice little town. They mined coal, cooked hot dogs, and things were generally quiet. Until the fire department tried to take care of the town dump by, um, burning it. Which in turn lit the rich veins of coal underneath the town, setting off the biggest coal fire in history.
How bad was the fire?
It's still burning.
Weirdly, the people of Centralia largely decided to stick around for twenty years or so, until the massive sinkholes opening to a hell of thousand-degree heat and noxious, choking gases of death just wound up being too much. In the '80s, the state seized most of the houses and the Post Office revoked their ZIP Code. But there are still two people living there and, weirdly, a busy tourist trade. We guess a helluva lot of fatal heat and deadly gases appeals to some people.
4. Cuyahoga River Fire
Ahhhhh, Cleveland. Cleveland has been an upstanding and joyous member of the fraternity of American cities. It's given us great funk music, Drew Carey, and LeBron. But there are two national disgraces that live in Cleveland: the Browns and the history of the Cuyahoga River.
The Cuyahoga had the distinction, at one point, of being one of the most polluted rivers in America, in fact, so polluted that it stops being an environment disaster and turns into a series of yo mama jokes. Yo city's river so polluted, leeches won't live in it (yes, the Cuyahoga was so polluted nothing, not even disgusting bloodsucking monsters, would live in it). Yo city's river so polluted, it bubbles up toxic gases. And, of course, yo city's river so polluted, it caught on fire on a regular basis.
Yep, the Cuyahoga burned. In fact, it burned a lot. Between the 1870s and the 1960s, the Cuyahoga caught on fire no less than 13 times thanks to the oils and other crap private industry and the city itself dumped into it repeatedly. In 1969, the fire was so bad it actually embarassed the entire nation, including Richard freaking Nixon, into adopting the Clean Water Act.
Still not as embarassing as the Browns, though.