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It's a weird place to visit and you really, really wouldn't want to live there.
Welcome to Pollutionopolis, America's most contaminated and disgusting city.
Pollutionopolis isn't a real place, of course, but rather a new sculptural installation that debuted at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. The Center, Philadelphia's premier eco-tourism attraction, will open on Sept. 19.
"Pollutionopolis is a fun and whimsical sculpture with a very serious message," said Kumar Kishinchand, Philadelphia's water commissioner, who unveiled the work with Philip R. Goldsmith, the city's managing director.
"Virtually every object in Pollutionopolis shows some way humans have of polluting rivers and streams," Kishinchand added.
And there are plenty of objects for visitors of all ages to the Interpretive Center to see, including:
* A towering smokestack that emits chemicals contributing to acid rain.
* A mine that sends spent water into the river.
* A large pipe that discharges human and industrial waste.
* A lawn mower that scatters clippings into the sewer system.
* A cute stuffed rat to remind you where you are.
Pollutionopolis is the brainchild of Steve Feldman, head of Steve Feldman Design, a Philadelphia firm. Quinlan Scenic Studios, of Marcus Hook, Pa., sculpted the installation.
Feldman said Pollutionopolis incorporates many found objects to make the sculpture's environmental point.
"We use real car parts, tires, plastic bottles and an oil drum to draw a connection between visitors' lives and Pollutionopolis," he said.
"They see and use those objects every day. There's no escaping the impression that we all have a stake in pollution and its prevention," Feldman noted.
Another installation, Hidden River, by internationally acclaimed environmental artist Stacy Levy, also was unveiled at the ceremony.