Living Toxic, Karabash

PhotographerMittica Pierpaolo
PrizePress / Nature/Environmental
Entry Description

The town of Karabash, from the Russian province of Chelyabinsk, is one of the most polluted places on Earth. A copper smelting plant, built more than 100 years ago, is situated in the town, and its toxic waste has created extremely large amounts of pollution and serious health problems for the inhabitants. Immense sulfur dioxide emissions, fall-out of metal-rich particulates and mounds of black slag are thought to be responsible for higher incidences of birth defects, skin diseases, cancer, strokes and congenital malformations. From the 1910 when the copper smelting plant started, more than 180 tons of sulfur dioxide and metal particulates were released into the air every year. The people living there have nowhere to go and are closer to death with every breath they take. The residential areas, the restaurants or cinemas are now resembling death-haunted places, and people hardly live more than 45 years. The results of a survey conducted by the Chelyabinsk Provincial Institute for Public Health and Environment in 1994 found that children from Karabash were considerably smaller than children from the control group, had 3.5 times more birth defects, 2.7 times more skin diseases and suffered from heavy metal poisoning. The forests, rivers and soil have an orange color because of iron, whose concentration is 500 times higher than normal limits.  The copper smelting plant was closed in 1990 when was declared by the authorities an "ecological disaster". But all the city jobs depend from the plant, all the population was without job and fall in poverty. So in 1998 the government was forced to reopen the facility under the pressure of the population that required work. The plant was reopened without any safety or environmental assessments. The landscape is completely burned by dioxide, and the copper factories keep transforming the area into a living hell.

About Photographer

Italian humanist photographer, is an internationally recognized photographer and he is recipient of numerous awards. Currently he is represented by Trolley, Great Britain. He received the Masters Program at CRAF diploma in conservation, technique and history of photography in 1990, studying with Charles â Henri Favrod, Naomi Rosenblum and Walter Rosenblum, who is his spiritual father in photography. His photographs were exhibited in all Europe and United States, In 2006 the work âChernobyl the hidden legacyâ was selected by the Chernobyl National Museum of Kiev (Ukraine) for the official exhibition for the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Permanent collections: Auer collection, Hermance (Switzerland) Favrod collection, Saint Prex (Switzerland) Rosenblum collection, New York (USA) Fratelli Alinari Museum, Florence (Italy) Chernobyl National Museum, Kiev (The Ukraine) Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm (Sweden) J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (USA). Publications: âThe Balkans, from Bosnia to Kosovoâ, Interattiva, Italy 2000 âChernobyl the hidden legacyâ, Ellago ediciones, Spain 2006, Trolley LTD, Great Britain 2007, Kashiwa Shobo, Japan 2011 "Cip is not Afraid", CRO - CRAF, Italy 2010 Awards 2006 FVG Award 2009 Winner of the âEUIC International Photography Competitionâ 2010 Official selection winner for the âPaducah Photo '10 exhibitionâ at the Yeiser Art Center (USA) 2010 Pictures of the Year International: "Chernobyl The hidden legacy" book finalist in the category "best photography bookâ 2010 Honorable mention âDaylight/CDS Photo Awardsâ 2010 Second Place "Photo Aid Contest 2010" 2010 Honorable Mention âThe Robert Cornelius award 2010â 2010 Highly commended âDigital Photographer of the Year 2010â 2010 Highly commended âEnvironmental Photographer of the Year 2010â 2010 Highly commended âFCCT/OnAsia PHOTO CONTEST 2010â 2010 Second Place and 2 Gold Awards "European Professional Photographer of the Year Awards 2010" Reportage category 2010 finalist âWorldwide Photography Gala Award 2010â 2010 finalist âFEP European Photo Book Award 2010â 2010 Honorable mention âIPA International Photography Awardsâ category: âEditorial feature storyâ 2010 Honorable mention âPX3 Aftermarthâ category âphotojournalism/feature storiesâ 2011 finalist âKL International Photo Awards 2011â 2011 Third Prize "6th Annual Black and White Spider Awards 2011" category photojournalism 2011 official selection winner for the âPaducah Photo '11 exhibitionâ at the Yeiser Art Center (USA) 2011 Honorable mention âWPGA Black & White Competitionâ category âeditorial Photojournalismâ 2011 Gold medal in the category "book documentary" and Silver medal in the category "press feature story" at "PX3 prix de la photographie Paris 2011" 2011 Silver Award âEuropean Photographer of The Year 2011â Category Reportage 2011 Winner âWPGA Editorial Grant 2011â 2011 Honorable mention âWPGA Pollux Award 2011â category Humanitarian documentary 2011 Winner "Outdoor Photographer of the year 2011" Category "On the Streets"