News / Health

Report: Health of 200 Million Threatened by Pollution

Report: Health of 200 Million Threatened by Pollutioni
X
Zlatica Hoke
November 07, 2013 6:43 AM
Environmentalists warn that 200 million of people worldwide risk exposure to toxic pollution. The Blacksmith Institute in the United States and Green Cross of Switzerland have published a 2013 report of the world's worst polluted places and the human activities that led to them. Zlatica Hoke reports from Washington.
Report: Health of 200 Million Threatened by Pollution
Lisa Schlein
A new report has found that the health of up to 200 million people worldwide is threatened by pollution. Two independent environmental organizations -- Green Cross Switzerland and the U.S.-based Blacksmith Institute -- have just published a list of 10 of the world’s most dangerously polluted places.
 
The top 10 most polluted places are spread over eight countries located in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. They are cited for threatening the lives of the millions of people who live there by exposing them to dangerous environmental toxins.

​The report noted that polluants in these places affect people through direct inhalation, food intake and skin contact. Poisonous substances include lead, cadmium, chrome, oil, pesticides, phenols, mercury, sarin, radionuclides and volatile organic compounds. 
 
The World's Worst Polluted Places in 2013 (unranked)

Agbogbloshie, Ghana
Chernobyl, Ukraine
Citarum River, Indonesia
Dzershinsk, Russia
Hazaribagh, Bangladesh
Kabwe, Zambia
Kalimantan, Indonesia
Matanza Riachuelo, Argentina
Niger River Delta, Nigeria
Norilsk, Russia

Source: Blacksmith Institute/Green Cross Switzerland
The senior technical adviser with the Blacksmith Institute, David Hanrahan, told VOA that four of the sites that were on the first list published in 2006 remain on this year’s list of the world’s most polluted.
 
“We have Chernobyl -- which is not going to go away, obviously -- in the Ukraine.  We have two sites in Russia, of which one is a huge smelter, the other is a major chemical complex, which we think used to do a lot of chemical weapons. We have the mining site in Zambia, [on] which I said work has been done to improve. But, unfortunately, it is an extremely poor, abandoned place,” said Hanrahan. 
 
The other sites are in Argentina, Bangladesh, Ghana, two places in Indonesia and Nigeria’s Niger River Delta. 
 
Despite the ever-present dangers posed by environmental toxins, Hanrahan said progress is being made in cleaning up some of the world’s polluted hot spots. 
 
For example, he points out that the Dominican Republic was on the original top-10 list because of the high levels of lead at a recycling site. He says the country was dropped from the list after cleaning up the site and turning it into a playground. 
 
Similar success stories took place in other places -- including cities in China, which have reduced air pollution, in India and in eastern Russia. 
 
Hanrahan says that in the past, the link between health and the environment tended to be underestimated. However, today public health authorities in many countries recognize the need to address these problems.
 
“It is causing problems that are really of the similar order as the big international public health concerns like tuberculosis and malaria, HIV/AIDS. Toxic pollution is, in many countries, [on] the same order of magnitude and that is being recognized, which is one of the things that we really are quite pleased about,” said Hanrahan. 
 
Hanrahan also said that more and more governments are seeing environmental pollution as a problem that can be tackled and overcome. He says developing countries that are dealing with these concerns are seeing significant improvements in the health of their people, especially among children, who are most at risk of getting ill or dying.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs