From smog and oil spills, to plastic islands of trash, here are some of the saddest pollution photos we found online. Warning: These pollution photos will probably make you cry.
Bird Explodes from Eating Plastic
Plastic pollution creates a deadly chain reaction in our environment. When fish eat the plastic, they pass it on to the birds. This albatross exploded from all of the garbage that he ingested.
Bird Trapped in a Plastic Coffin
This poor bird is trapped inside a plastic bag. Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used every year across the world, that’s about 1 million every hour. And many of them make their way to our waterways and oceans.
Smog Blackouts in China
A heavy smog enveloped China in 2014 causing blackouts and traffic jams of epic proportions.
Photoshopping Hong Kong’s Skyline
Paris’ Smog Tower
Even Fish Can’t Survive in Rio’s Polluted Waters
If fish can’t even survive in Brazil‘s polluted waters, how do you think the 2016 Summer Olympic athletes felt? Many neighborhoods in Rio still don’t have sewer lines. Homes just expel their toilets through open pipes into Rio’s sewer canals that drain out to sea.
Covered in a Layer of Dead Fish
Nope, that’s not a gravel road. That’s a solid mass of dead fish. So many fish have died in these photos that they create a massive layer on the surface of the water.
This sad koala in Vittoria State Forest, New South Wales doesn’t know where to go after deforestation in Australia turned his tree home into a pile of splinters.
Mount Everest: Garbage Dump
Even Mount Everest has a trash problem. The wealthy adventurers who climb the mountain are known for leaving large amounts of garbage and human waste behind. Sadly local volunteers must climb up and take out their trash for them. The human waste is a different story. Decades of frozen feces still litter the mountain and sometimes take centuries to break down. If you plan on climbing Mount Everest, be careful where you dig in the snow for drinking water and don’t dig deep.
Copper Mine Contaminates Chinese River
In July 2010, heavy rains flooded Zijin Mining‘s copper mine in Shanghang, China and overflowed into the Ting River. The toxic mine water killed off massive amounts of fish and made a major waterway in southeast China’s Fujian province unuseable.
Oil Pipeline Accident Cripples Gulf of Thailand
Oil from a pipeline leak covered Thailand’s famous Ao Phrao beach in July 2013. The oil slick resulted in the countless death of sea and marine life and crippled tourism as visitors fled the Gulf of Thailand.
Oil Pump Farm
Chevron‘s Kern River Oil Field in the outskirts of Bakersfield, California, is now a dry and barren oil field. It’s one of the densest oil developments in the United States.
Penguins Covered in Oil
These poor penguins swam into an oil slick.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is exactly what it sounds like, a giant floating patch of trash far off the coast of California. How giant is this garbage patch, you ask? Twice the size of Texas. Plastic makes up approximately 90% of the trash in the world’s oceans and there are approximately 5 trillion pieces of garbage currently floating at sea.
Here’s a news piece from the American morning show ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.
China’s Massive Algae Blooms
In 2013, the Yellow Sea‘s beaches of Shangdong Province, eastern China, were hit by the largest algae bloom ever seen due to rising ocean temperatures. Global warming isn’t just melting the polar ice caps.
Sea of Red
If you thought China’s green algae was strange, that’s nothing compared to Australia’s red algae which are high in ammonia and can cause skin irritation.
Toxic Red Dye River
A spill from two illegal Chinese dye workshops turned this river into a toxic red nightmare for residents.
Bird Soaked in Oil
About 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed annually because of pollution in our oceans. Spills from ocean oil drilling accidents is a major contributor to this number. Seabirds are especially susceptible to the effects of oil spills as the oil forms a layer on the surface of the water where the birds spend most of their time. Birds are unable to fly until the oil is cleaned off their feathers.
Turtle Dies from Oil Spill
This turtle died as the result of a spill from the Prestige oil tanker off the northwestern coast of Spain in December 2002.
Seal Trapped in a Can
Sea creatures often mistake human trash for food. Sometimes they get stuck like this poor seal with a can trapped on its face.
Surfing Through Waves of Trash
As more countries continue to dump their trash into the oceans, surfers are finding themselves surfing through it.
Swimming in Trash
A boy swims through trash-filled waters in the Philippines, one of the most polluted nations in the world.
River of Trash
A child stands next to an actual river of trash near the city of Manila, capital of the Philippines.
Wading Through Trash
The next time you want to complain about your commute, remember this photo. This family has to walk through a river of trash to get home.
How Trash Can Deform Turtles
A sad reminder to please cut up your plastic six-pack rings before throwing them out.
Plastic Ring Creates Deformed Turtle
This turtle’s hourglass-shaped deformity was the result of a plastic ring getting stuck around its waist.
You Can Make a Difference
Please do your part and throw in a little extra effort when you see garbage on the ground or have an opportunity to preserve the environment. We can all make the world a better place.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.