Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos

Taranto's Deadly Dust

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    The southern Italian port city of Taranto is home to Europe’s largest steel plant, the Ilva steelworks. Ilva accounts for 30 percent of Italy’s steel production and some 12,000 jobs in a city where unemployment has reached 33 percent. It is also a source of extreme pollution that has set off a conflict in the city of 190,000. Pictured, smoke and fire from one of the plant’s seven blast furnaces light up the night sky over the Tamburi district of Taranto.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos
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    Teams of street cleaners try to remove the toxic dust that covers the blue-collar neighborhood of Tamburi. The dust is a by-product from the Ilva steel plant that lies just under 1km from the town. Dust and other by-products have caused the cancer rates in Taranto and Tamburi to jump to 300 percent of the national average.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos
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    Houses in the Tamburi district.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos
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    A dress dries in front of an apartment in Tamburi. The plastic sheeting around it is an attempt to stop the toxic pink dust from the steel plant from damaging the garment.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos
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    A runoff of toxins from the Ilva steel plant goes into the Gulf of Taranto.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos
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    The Ilva steelworks as seen from a hilltop above the Tamburi district. The fence and screen were erected by the company in a vain attempt to stop the toxic dust from spreading to the city.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos
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    Taranto residents watch a debate over the Ilva steel plant on Italian national TV. The televised debate is shown on outdoor cinema screens to people in Tamburi’s central square.

    Photograph by Guy Martin/Panos