Toxic waste’s health impact in Asia similar to malaria’s |Source: Prime Sarmiento, SciDev Net, Aug 7, 2013|
Toxic waste is an under-recognised major global health burden comparable to outdoor air pollution and malaria, according to a study.
The paper says that people’s exposure to industrial pollutants such as lead, asbestos and chromium from toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in 2010 resulted in the loss of 829,000 years of good health due to serious diseases or early death.
Such a health burden, the researchers say, is comparable to that caused by outdoor air pollution and malaria — both serious problems in developing countries in Asia. The WHO estimates that people living in India, Indonesia and the Philippines lose a total 1.45 million healthy years per year because of outdoor air pollution and 725,000 healthy years due to malaria.
The researchers sampled 373 sites in the three countries. They found that these sites endanger more than eight million people as their daily exposure to industrial pollutants puts them at risk of developing heart disease, cancer and anaemia. The toxic wastes mainly come from tanneries, mining firms and battery recycling plants.