Abandoned coal slag heap, South Africa

Abandoned coal slag heap, South Africa

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Credit: DR NEIL OVERY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Abandoned coal slag heap. Close-up of an abandoned coal slag heap near Witbank, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Slag heaps like this often contain toxic heavy metals and pose a serious health risk to people living nearby. According to a European Union research team, the area around Witbank is said to have the most polluted air in the world.

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