Toxic waste ‘major global threat’

BBC News reports: More than 200 million people around the world are at risk of exposure to toxic waste, a report has concluded.

The authors say the large number of people at risk places toxic waste in a similar league to public health threats such as malaria and tuberculosis.

The study from the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross calls for greater efforts to be made to control the problem.

The study carried out in more than 3,000 sites in over 49 countries.

“It’s a serious public health issue that hasn’t really been quantified,” Dr Jack Caravanos, director of research at the Blacksmith Institute and professor of public health at the City University of New York told the BBC’s Tamil Service.

The study identified the Agbobloshie dumping yard in Ghana’s capital Accra as the place which poses the highest toxic threat to human life.

The researchers say that the report has not been hidden from governments, and they are all aware of the issue.

Agbobloshie has become a global e-waste dumping yard, causing serious environmental and health issues Dr Caravanos explained. [Continue reading…]

A striking example of exposure to toxic waste appears in “Shower,” a short film made in Aleppo, Syria:

Every morning, Muhammed, 9 years, starts his journey towards landfill sites in his hometown of Manbij, near Aleppo. He searches for combustible, edible, or fit-to-wear materials. We join Muhammed in one of his daily journeys to find flammable materials to use for cooking and boiling water for bathing. In the afternoon, he comes back to his family with useable refuse and combustible materials. He awaits his turn as his mother baths his younger siblings.
Muhammed is just one of thousands of Syrian children who had to leave school and resort to vagrancy. Those children had to collect garbage because their families had been reduced to poverty by the Assad regime’s systematic policy of starvation and continuous targeting of civilians.

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