#1. Detroit, Michiganaa
This one should really come as no surprise. The city of Detroit, Michigan is so awful that it even has a Wikipedia page dedicated to its demise, called the “Decline of Detroit”. It is in a total state of urban decay from a massive economic decline, which led many people to move elsewhere. Poverty and crime are rampant in the city. Basically, it is not a great place to be. Described as a ghost town by many, Detroit is full of abandoned properties and lots. In fact, there are at least 70,000 abandoned buildings, 31,000 abandoned houses, and 90,000 empty lots. With that much of the city not being taken care of, it is no wonder that it looks the way it does.
It has consistently ranked high on lists of arson and murder capitals of America, and is the first place that comes to mind for most Americans when they think of the last place they would ever want to live in their country- a third world country would likely be better.
#2. Camden, New Jersey
There are a lot of great things about the city of Camden, New Jersey. It sits on the Delaware River just across the water from Philadelphia, one of our country’s founding cities. It has a huge aquarium and lots of activities and events that take place on the waterfront. But Camden also has a darker side. It was ranked the most dangerous city in America in 2012, and the previous year the murder rate was 10 times that of New York City, which is morbidly impressive. Camden is made up at least in part of crumbling residential buildings inhabited by drug dealers and pimps. More and more crack houses have sprung up in the area, which is also dotted with boarded-up factories and empty houses.
It has been said by one resident in an interview that “there is no real policing in Camden; they’re just there to pick up the bodies.” A testament to all of this is that the city’s population has decreased by 40 percent in recent years. This is definitely worse than economically-deprived and dirty third world countries, because at least there, the violent crime is nowhere near as high.
#3. Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield, California lies in the Central Valley, which is known for its oil, oil, oil. There are oil fields galore, and even oil museums. And as we know, there are few things dirtier than the thick, black, slimy oil that is responsible for so much pollution around the globe. So it makes sense, then, that oil emissions and gas processing contribute greatly to Bakersfield’s pollution problem.
But even without oil and gas, the city is in trouble based on its geography alone; since it is in a low-lying valley, pollution from some of the nation’s biggest cities on the coast are blown in and trapped there, making Bakersfield’s air pollution the worst based on particle pollution in the U.S. In fact, this photo may as well have been taken in Beijing, which is infamous for its poor air quality.
#4. Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida is a pretty dirty place to begin with, according to many lists published that rank it high among America’s dirtiest cities. But that is even before taking into account the mess that is left by spring break revelers each year, which takes the dirtiness to a new level. Even though there is nothing “disgusting” (in the traditional sense) about this photo, the sheer mass of humanity so squished together, knowing the garbage they are going to leave behind, is far beyond gross. It’s just wrong. Not only are these people polluting the sand, but they are polluting the ocean, as well, with things like beer cans, food wrappers, and whatever else gets left behind- so literally anything.
When the tide comes in, everything else goes out. It is sad that it has to be this way, but despite multiple efforts through various campaigns, it remains a big problem in this popular city, which is not exactly fair to the people that live there and are left with the mess when all the tourists go home.
#5. Cleveland, Ohio
On the shores of Lake Erie lies Cleveland, Ohio, the state’s biggest city in terms of population. And naturally, when there are more people, there is more pollution and litter. Cleveland is a great example of a gross city; just look at this photo, one of the many that illustrate its sad state. If you are a sports enthusiast, it would be a great place to visit or live, but otherwise the few perks Cleveland has to offer do not make the toxic emissions, poor air and water quality, and the garbage of two million people worth it.
East Cleveland is especially known for being litter-ridden, and quite unsafe. Plus, there is the air and water pollution as a result of Cleveland’s rather large manufacturing industry. According to the EPA, the city’s biggest culprit of this is the ArcelorMittal plant.