Yes, I know unemployment is basically holding steady, and that it’s been pretty high. And I know we all want people to go back to work if they so choose, and that it’s been a travesty that so many people have lost factory jobs that we all know are never coming back, and that we’ve lost them to those countries that have cheaper labor.

Where I live, the Syracuse NY area, used to have Allied Chemicals residing along Onondaga Lake. These days it’s known as the most polluted lake in the United States, possibly the world. The village it resided in, called Solvay, used to have pink skies all the time, soot everywhere, and the air smelled like bad perfume. The plant is gone now, the skies are no longer pink, the people can actually clean the outside of their homes and know it’s going to stay that way… and the lake is still polluted. Hey, three out of four isn’t bad.

There have been a couple of lists that have come out about cities around the world. They are both the dirtiest and the most polluted cities in the world. And these days, the United States doesn’t have any cities on those lists. At least not in the top 20 or 10 of the two lists mentioned.

Which two countries are at the top of the list? China and India. Where have most of the American manufacturing jobs gone? China and India. Sure, there are other countries that have pollution problems that are on the list, but not in the numbers as the first two, although Russia easily surpasses any other country for the third spot.

China’s problems have definitely come as a result of more manufacturing and fewer standards as far as making sure factories are safe for its employees. India has always had problems because it’s never been considered an overly rich country, and now that they have some industry there, it’s not helping to contribute to making anything cleaner. In some cases, the poor are even poorer than they were before they started getting more industries there.

How does the United States compare? Strangely enough, even our most factory-laden cities don’t rank high on pollution lists. The most polluted city in the country is, strangely enough, Pittsburgh PA, at least on one list. Los Angeles is at the top of another list, and Bakersfield swaps places with Los Angeles on another list. Their problem is too many cars in such a concentrated area; the ozone isn’t their friend. Detroit, which many people have believed was one of the dirtiest cities in the country because of its factories, comes in at #9 on only one list, so much for its reputation.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t lament the jobs that have been lost, especially since not all the jobs that have been lost were manufacturing jobs. But the United States overall seems to be a cleaner place, and that does say a lot.