Jerome Poulalier

Copşa Mică, Romania, is well known for being one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Indeed, from 1936 to1993, a factory was producing carbon black for dyes there, which polluted and permeated the area for more than 60 years, leaving soot on homes, trees, animals, and everything else in the area. A French TV program broadcasted on France2 in 1991 stated that the city was the most polluted of the world. The pictures show that the remains of these decades of deposits are not just a vague memory…

Sometra was the other source of the pollution in Copşa Mică, impacting seriously the health of the local population. Sometra was a smelter whose emissions have highly increased incidence of lung disease and impotence. These two factors made the life expectancy of the Copşa Mică area 9 or 10 years below Romania’s average and increased the number of cancers and other disease within the region.

When I went in Copşa Mică, I discovered an abandoned scenery, composed of imposing dark ruins, where the heat made the landscape blurry and the air really heavy. 20 years later the scars of communism are still apparent among the population of Copsa Mica.

French version available here

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