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Forbes ranks 40 major cities in the US that are most toxic. Rankings is based on poor air quality, lack of clean water, and high rate of Superfund sites. Because Forbes lumped Washington DC metro area with West Virginia, we have 33 Superfund sites, 98 facilities releasing toxic chemicals, and air quality ranks number 7 (based on 2007 numbers). We're not as bad as Atlanta, which is bottom of the list. But, still, not good. Among the 40 cities, Washington DC- Arlington-Alexandria, DC-MD-VA-WVA metro area is number 18 on the list.
A 'Superfund' site, is.. (via EPA)
A Superfund site is an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people.
Think about this: Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News or VA-NC metro area is "cleaner" than DC. You kinda wonder why. Well, they only have "6" Superfund sites vs us 33!
You would think that crowded places such as New York City would be the most polluted place. Instead NYC is better than DC. Ranks 9 on the list.
High population density--the contrast to Atlanta's sprawl--can be a good thing in terms of toxicity. Limiting traffic has helped urban centers like New York City, which are often associated with grit and grime. A highly efficient subway system keeps New York outside the worst 20 cities in terms of toxicity.So having a good public transportation would help.