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EDITIONS
Read your comments Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 20:21 GMT
Read your comments
Tim Samuels in mask
Dzerzhinsk - the location of a deadly world record
Russia: Poison City - was broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday, 9 March, 2003 at 1815 GMT.

Because of the high volume of correspondence we receive, we cannot guarantee to publish every single e-mail.

Have your say

I am 16 years old and after watching that documentary, I became deeply astonished by the pure ignorance of the Russian high authorities. However, it has further inspired me to try and help these people to the best of my ability and I intend to do so.
Gareth Whitley, Wales, UK

Is this all people mean to the rest of the world's powerful bodies

Margaret M.Devaney
I saw myself in Dzerzinsk only two months ago - what I saw was absolutely catastrophic. People who live there say they are now aware of the health problems they are at risk of but from most of the people I myself spoke to, didn't seem to be interested in what I was asking or what I had to say about the pollution they are living with. Perhaps in time people will realise how much risk these people are under and do something about it, but by then it may be too late.
Jamie-Dale Davis, England

I watched this programme last night. For God's sake -can the 'powers-that-be' not act to stop such irresponsibility on the part of chemical plant owners to avoid such poisoning of people's dwelling-places? Is there any hope for this city and its people? Can UN and other bodies take action to help clear it of poisonous soil, water and air? Is this all people mean to the rest of the world's powerful bodies?
Margaret M.Devaney, Scotland

It's unbelievable that even in these 'modern' times such places and problems are still ignored. It was shocking. Are we able (or allowed) to get in touch with the people of Dzerzhinsk to offer support, money or supplies? Surely help from people who care, no matter how far away, could make a small difference?
Angela Thresh, England

Is this a harbinger of tough times ahead for all of us

Colin Butts
I was shocked to find out this about the Russian City. Tim has done a great job. I lived in Russia for 33 years and we never had information like this being broadcasted on TV. I am Russian lawyer and TV journalist but have lived in the UK since 1999 but do not now work in TV industry (alas). I will be sending a message to Tim sharing more stories about an identical city (where I am originally from) - this is another ecological hell.
Larisa Martin, UK

Is this a harbinger of tough times ahead for all of us? The story reads like a bad science fiction novel. Horrid plot: Man over-reaches himself and destroys environment. Mankind dies (Roll credits). This tale is so awful, that if I paid to see it, I'd want my money back. The thought that it is real is unbearable.
Colin Butts, USA

Starting with the WTO's 1st Ruling in 1996, air quality standards on a global scale should be expected to deteriorate. That ruling, in behalf of Venezuela, compromises the USA's air quality standards. Perhaps in time, most of the world's nations will become polluted comparable to Dzerzhinsk.
Carol L. Bell, USA

Not many of us like these eco-activists but we need them

S.Oung
The pollution in Dzerzhinsk is simply insane. Does this contamination not pose a risk to the entire planet? Chernobl happened only once, Dzerzhinsk happens every day.
Charles Fox, USA

I spent two weeks there in 1968 and it was quite different when the Soviet Union was in power. People were happy and healthy. I think Mr. Samuels should have the courage to compare and contrast the situation now and then.
Dr. Senerath Bogahalanda, England

That's what happens in a country where eco-activists get charged with treason and espionage for working with foreign charities. Face it, not many of us like these eco-activists but we need them.
S.Oung, UK

Thumbs up to Serafim for doing something positive

Stephen Leeson
I thought this edition of Correspondent should make people sit up & think about how lucky we are to live where we do and like we do,,,,,too much is taken for granted. I thank god that my two children live in a better safer environment than those poor people, I wish them all well.
Stephanie Cornwall, UK

This programme was fantastic. I honestly can't believe that there are places on earth with such extreme pollution. I felt frustrated that no one really cared. But the fact is, it's our world and I'm sure the pollution just doesn't stop in that town. Thumbs up to Serafim for doing something positive!! Also thanks to the BBC for making such informative television programmes.
Stephen Leeson, England

I can't believe nothing can be done about that pollution, I mean people just die there. If Greenpeace know about it, why they're not doing anything to fix the problem? Are the involved at all? The story about the sick girl was quite touching, maybe you can start some sort of support fund, and if there are enough people contributing money, that girl could go for a vacation abroad, or maybe she could be checked by a good doctor outside of Dzerzhinsk. We are ready to help in any way; maybe it's a good idea to setup a special web site. We do speak Russian by the way, so we could process some materials as well.
Sasha, UK

It is sad to see how we destroy our planet and our resources

Odile Haustant
I would just like to say what a good programme I thought this was. I had never heard of this city, let alone its horrendous chemical pollution. I think it is so important to highlight these worrying findings. I am surprised and disappointed such a city has not received more press coverage.
Alison McCorry, England

Well done for going beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg and producing a factual, albeit disturbing, piece on Russian reality in the provinces!!! Keep up the good work!
Thomas, UK

It is sad to see that not even he UN or any other countries help the Russians. If there were any other interests or our lives were threatened too maybe something would have been done. It is sad to see how we destroy our planet and our resources.
Odile Haustant, UK/French

Maybe start a fund to help the girl and the hospital

Robert Rivers
Well, what can I say! Having undertaken Soil sampling experiments at university I can fully understand the "serious issues" that these poor people face! I urge someone to stop this and to fund a comprehensive remediation plan of action on the land.
Gordon Foat, UK

Obviously it cannot solve all the problems but surely it would be beneficial to try and arrange treatment for the young girl, over in the west if necessary, firstly for the sake of the girl and secondly for the sake of research which could help all of us. Maybe start a fund to help the girl and the hospital.
Robert Rivers, England

You do not have to go to Russia to find that sort of contamination. Try testing any incineration area. You will find all these areas are badly contaminated with dioxin. It is killing people in so many areas.
E Hawken, Cornwall

Do Nations not have a duty of care to their population

Grorge Lamb
Just to say how moving the program content was, and particularly the determination of Serafim. The stats were staggering.
Oli , UK

It seems absurd that a permanent member of the UN Security Council can have such an irresponsible attitude towards its people without rousing some sort of response from the international community. Do Nations not have a duty of care to their population? Off the subject, It is even more remarkable that China can hold the position it dose in the UN while illegally occupying Tibet. This seems to be contrary to the purpose of the UN.
Grorge Lamb, UK

As an Environment Agency Officer who regulates some of the strictest environmental legislation in the world, I find it impossible to believe that a country with now almost no environmental controls can get away with this. President Putin is up there with Saddam Hussein and Milosevic for their complete disregard for human life. People of the UK aren't getting the message about waste issues or the effects of car exhausts and the car ridden society we live in.
Robert Cornell, England

Our government should be dropping smart food bombs and clean water down to these places

Julia Bailey
It is sad to see people so poor they can't escape from a situation such as they are in, and a country too uncaring and cold to do anything about it. I feel privileged to be in a place where I'm not choking to death. Health is a real luxury afforded by the west, I hope the government knows its putting ours and others at risk by hitting Saddam
Simon Herrick, England

Particularly poignant for us as we have just hosted two boys from Osipovichi, Belarus affected by the Chernobyl accident in the Ukraine in 1986. Apparently the worst nuclear explosion ever. Another hushed up event. Maybe a good subject for another documentary - please!!!
Julie Gaymer, UK

Yes a very disturbing look at life for those Russian people and they only seem to get by through a sense of humour, but I guess they have no other option. What I do find interesting is straight after, I'm watching a programme about "Crufts" in the UK and it's perverse that these dogs are given more consideration than those people in Dzerzhinsk. The world is truly absurd. Our government should be dropping smart food bombs and clean water down to these places rather than bombs on defenceless civilians in Iraq.
Julia Bailey, UK

I am a medically qualified scientist who specialises in the ways chemicals damage our health and what we can do to avoid them, prevent chemicals from being so toxic and giving safe ways in which supplements can be used to rid chemicals from the body.

The years of research work resulted in my book "The Detox Diet" which exposes the ways toxic chemicals have damaged our natural weight control systems and made us fat. However as the same chemicals which make people fat also trigger the diseases mentioned on the program, the advice principles (except those which involve mild food restriction) given may be of general benefit to those affected by toxins. If the Russians were given a summary of this advice I believe it would be of great benefit to them.
Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton, Scotland

I had no idea this place was so bad

Elizabeth Lewis
There should be a way to help these people, is there a charity that helps in the former USSR? I found the programme depressing and moving at the same time, especially the girl who has to have injections every day.
Michael, England

It really affected me. No one should have to live under these conditions. Do you think things will get better, i.e. will the Russian authorities act to clean up the area? I've been to Russia twice some years ago and although I knew people lived in bad conditions, I had no idea this place was so bad.
Elizabeth Lewis, Scotland

Last year I stayed in a town about 4 hours drive from Chernobyl. The family I stayed with gave my wife and I dried mushrooms to take home. It is a regular part of their diet, being free from the forest, and my wife and I had commented on how nice they were. On returning to the UK, it was our intention to eat them, but I decided to test them first. Our local hospital agreed to do the tests and found radio caesium 137 levels to be 20 times above the accepted safe level. I still have the mushrooms - in a jar with a radioactive sign - and use it to help promote the charity's work. I know mushrooms 'soak up' poisons, but I wonder about the affect on crops grown locally.
Dennis Hopkins, UK

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