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Azerbaijan: From Baku, with love!

23/05/2012
Baku, Azerbijan. A gloss of oil and chemicals sheens standing water in an oil field near Baku. Runoff from the fields has rendered local streams, lakes and ponds biologically dead.

Baku, Azerbijan. A gloss of oil and chemicals sheens standing water in an oil field near Baku. Runoff from the fields has rendered local streams, lakes and ponds biologically dead.

Baku, Azerbaijan – Since 1872, the area in and around Baku has been dominated by the oil industry, as evident by the countless oil pumps and drilling rigs that crowd the landscape.

It’s the most polluted place on Earth. It was the hub of Soviet industry and petrochemical research, and has the health problems to prove it – cancer rates are 50% higher than average here, and birth defects are commonplace.

Baku has a subtropical semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk) with hot and dry summers, cold and occasionally wet winters, and strong winds all year long.
However, unlike many other cities with this climate, Baku does not see extremely hot summers. This is largely because of its northerly latitude and the fact that it is located on a peninsula on the shore of the Caspian Sea.
Baku and the Absheron Peninsula on which it is situated, is the most arid part of Azerbaijan (precipitation here is around or less than 200 mm (8 in) a year).
During Soviet times, Baku with its long hours of sunshine and dry healthy climate, was a vacation destination where citizens could enjoy beaches or relax in now-dilapidated spa complexes overlooking the Caspian Sea.
The city’s past as a Soviet industrial center has left it as one of the most polluted cities in the world.

The vegetation of the islands in the Baku Archipelago has been quite damaged by the pollution caused by the oil wells in the same bay, so that most islands are almost devoid of vegetation.
Formerly this archipelago provided an ideal ecosystem for the Caspian seal.

Oil field - Baku. Photo Simon Chauvin, 2009. http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon-in-bahrain/3778031794/

Oil field – Baku. Photo Simon Chauvin, 2009.

Oil field - Baku. Photo Simon Chauvin, 2009. http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon-in-bahrain/3777228441/

Oil field – Baku. Photo Simon Chauvin, 2009.

Baku, Oilfield, Azerbaijan. Photo cayman simon, 2006. http://www.flickr.com/photos/74052799@N00/4124249550/

Baku, Oilfield, Azerbaijan. Photo cayman simon, 2006.

Baku, Azerbaijan, Cess pool of pollution. Photo PilotGirl Sonja Stark, 2008. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pilotgirl/2968723007/

Baku, Cess pool of pollution. Photo PilotGirl Sonja Stark, 2008.

Baku, Environmental disaster. Photo orlando72 Rolland Ellison, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlando72/4913031205/in/photostream/

Baku, Environmental disaster. Photo orlando72 Rolland Ellison, 2010.

Baku, From the Baku Promenade. Photo orlando72_Rolland Ellison, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlando72/4913032603/

From the Baku Promenade. Photo orlando72_Rolland Ellison, 2010.

Baku, Caspian sea's oil reserves. Photo documentaryoflife, 2007. http://www.flickr.com/photos/documentaryphotography/2072733245/

Baku, Caspian sea’s oil reserves. Photo documentaryoflife, 2007.

* ERACL Theme_ UNIDO Caspian Pollution Report

* Baku Archipelago

* Pollution with exhaust gas

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