10 Toxic Towns You Still Can’t Live In
Kantubek, Vozrozhdeniya Island, Uzbekistan
Situated on Vozrozhdeniya Island, aka Anthrax Island, in the now dried-up Aral Sea, Kantubek was a town that housed 1,500 Soviet scientists and their families.
The scientists were employees of the notorious Aralsk-7 lab complex nearby. Previously one of the world’s largest biological-warfare testing facilities, the top-secret complex was operational until the early 1990s.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the entire lab complex was relocated to the city of Kirov within the newly-created Russian Federation.
Kantubek became a sinister ghost town and one of the most toxic on the planet. Vozrozhdeniya Island was reduced to a dumping ground for the Soviet Union’s enormous cache of deadly anthrax.
Around 100 to 200 tons of anthrax slurry were dumped in pits there during the 1980s. After the island was abandoned, security became non-existent and governments around the world grew concerned that terrorist organizations or hostile regimes could get hold of the toxins. To deal with the problem, the US funded a multimillion-dollar clean-up operation in 2002.
The US-sponsored clean-up neutralized the vast cache of anthrax, but there are still fears over the safety of the island, which was also a testing ground for weaponized smallpox, bubonic plague and more, with locals avoiding the site at all costs.