Linfen in China is located right in the center of the country’s massive coal industry. The place has the dubious honor of being the most polluted city in the world. It also has not had a mayor for half a year now because the previous local executives were dismissed from service for poor management.
The local power now lies with the Deputy Mayor Luo Qingyuan. The repeated rejection of many candidates to succeed the city’s top leadership began to cause concern. In the past three years, the place has had four mayors.
The job is not appealing, to say the least. In September last year, the last mayor, Liu Zhijia, was dismissed for mismanagement of a mining accident that caused 270 deaths, making it one of the most severe cases in recent decades in China. Approximately 3,000 miners die each year from industrial accidents especially in the coal basin of northern China.
Linfen ranked first in the list of 10 most polluted places in the world as issued by the Blacksmith Institute in the USA. Other most polluted places include Tianying which is also in China, others from Russia, Azerbaijan, India, Ukraine, Zambia, and Peru. Many of these places are mining areas.
Linfen has a high incidence of skin diseases and lung cancer among its three million inhabitants. With high levels of sulfur dioxide in the air, the city pays the price of China’s high dependence on coal. China sources 70 percent of its energy requirements from coal.