Wittenoom is located in the outback of Western Australia. Signs warn motorists about driving through the ghost town, which to this day is still contaminated.
WHERE IS THE MOST TOXIC TOWN IN THE WORLD?
Big conspicuous warning signs stand sentinel in the middle of nowhere in Western Australia. There is nothing to be found on the map of the area. If you decide to go on despite all of the warnings, houses suddenly appear, then entire apartments blocks, a small church… These are the ruins of a city that’s now the most toxic ghost town in the world. But what drama does this place hide? For decades blue asbestos had been extracted from the Wittenoom mines. ( It was a popular building material until the middle of the previous century.) Business was booming—and it was killing off the inhabitants of Wittenoom bit by bit. Blue asbestos is actually the most toxic of all the types of asbestos; it splits up into fine airborne fibers and enters the lungs, where it proceeds to cause serious damage. In 1966 the asbestos mines in Wittenoom were shut down, but it was already too late for the 20,000 inhabitants of the town: At least 1,000 workers, residents, and even visitors had died from cancer or severe lung disease. Contamination of Wittenoom remained so high that it was declared a contaminated zone by the government in 2007. The ghost town was stripped of its city status and became the most forbidden place on the Australian continent. It was erased from the road signs, address directories, and official geographical lexicons. But although the poisoning risk remains dangerously high today, there are three final inhabitants who do not want to depart from their home: For the three former miners, death and Wittenoom have long been inseparable.
22.2353° S 118.3358° E