Giant hole continues to swallow up a toxic city in Peru

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Giant Hole Swallowing a Town

At just over 14,000 feet above sea level, Peru's Cerro de Pasco is one of the highest cities in the world, the Weather Channel reports. But instead of going on and on about the breathtaking Andean scenery, Peruthisweek.com calls it the ugliest city in Peru.

Why so ugly? Well, "the Pit" (otherwise known as El Tajo) is to blame. It is a massive open mine in the middle of the city, and its machinery is slowly chewing away at polluted neighborhoods. The pit is more than a mile wide, and as deep as the empire state building is tall, according to a recent post on Vice.com.

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The pit in Peru
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Giant hole continues to swallow up a toxic city in Peru
Tajo minero en Pasco
In this photo taken Sept. 15, 2009, a woman carries a buckets of water home in the mining town of Cerro de Pasco, Peru. As the government continues its aggressive push to extract the country's vast mineral and oil reserves, communities such as Cerro de Pasco show the conflict Peru faces between environmental contamination and jobs that is fueling violent protests, some deadly, from the Andes to the Amazon. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Panoramic view of Patarcocha lagoon, which is used as a dump for sewage and human waste, in the mining town of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. Peru's congress passed a bill in 2008 to condemn and relocate Cerro de Pasco, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control studies that found soil, homes and water saturated with toxic levels of lead. Nine of 10 children have elevated blood levels of one of 14 heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, and arsenic, according to the CDC. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
A sign on the edge of the open-pit mine reads in Spanish "Explosion schedule - Mornings:11 a.m., Afternoons: 3 p.m." in the mining town of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. Peru's congress passed a bill in 2008 to condemn and relocate Cerro de Pasco, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control studies that found soil, homes and water saturated with toxic levels of lead. Nine of 10 children have elevated blood levels of one of 14 heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, and arsenic, according to the CDC. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
In this photo taken Sept. 14, 2009, sheep herder Raul Herrera, 56, walks across the dry Quiulacocha lakebed, filled with mining tailings, the chemical and mineral sludge left over from processing ore on the outskirts of Cerro de Pasco, Peru. As the government continues its aggressive push to extract the country's vast mineral and oil reserves, communities such as Cerro de Pasco show the conflict Peru faces between environmental contamination and jobs that is fueling violent protests, some deadly, from the Andes to the Amazon. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
In this photo taken Sept. 15, 2009, Kathy Ramos, 17, carries her son Edson near the Patarcocha lagoon, which is used as a dump for sewage and human waste, in the mining town of Cerro de Pasco, Peru. Peru's congress passed a bill in 2008 to condemn and relocate Cerro de Pasco, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control studies that found soil, homes and water saturated with toxic levels of lead. Nine of 10 children have elevated blood levels of one of 14 heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, and arsenic, according to the CDC. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
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It's mainly a copper mine, but silver, lead, tungsten and other minerals have been mined in the area for 400 years. Since the hole opened in 1956, thousands of families have been relocated, but much of the new housing lacks even basic sanitation.

According to Vice.com, Peru's congress passed a law calling for the entire population to be resettled. So far, no action has been taken.

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