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Tourists Won’t Stop Visiting Australia’s “Asbestos Town”

It’s considered the most contaminated site in the southern hemisphere and one of the most toxic in the world, but for some reason tourists just can’t stay away from the abandoned mining town of Wittenoom, deep in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara region.

In its heyday, between 1930 and 1966, Wittenoom was home to around 20,000 people, most of whom worked in the now abandoned nearby mines, extracting deadly asbestos every day. Today, it’s a ghost town surrounded by large ‘Danger’ signs designed to keep people as far away as possible. Even though asbestos mining ceased decades ago, Wittenoom is still surrounded by around three million tonnes of asbestos residue, enough to make the air there potentially deadly. The place is so dangerous that last year the Australian government decided to compulsorily acquire the properties of the last three people living in the area, just to get them to safety. And yet, there are thousands of tourists visiting Wittenoom every year and proudly posting photos of it on social media.

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