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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid