Studies on the Effect of Municipal Solid Waste Dump Sites on Public Health

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An Epidemiological approach in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the award of OD (Doctor of Optometry).

By Nwogwugwu Chioma Peace
Mat. No.: 04/8131
Department of Optometry,
Imo state University, Owerri.

Supervised by: Dr. Onome Okereke

December, 2009
Table Of content

Page
1.0Introduction3

2.0About The study4

3.0The Owerri municipal waste dumping site6

4.0Environmental pollution and impact of exposure7

5.0The study findings9

6.0Conclusion10

7.0References11

1. Introduction

Over the last three decades there has been increasing global concern over the public health impacts attributed to environmental pollution, in particular, the global burden of disease. The World Health Organization (WHO)1 estimates that about a quarter of the diseases facing mankind today occur due to prolonged exposure to environmental pollution. Most of these environment-related diseases are however not easily detected and may be acquired during childhood and manifested later in adulthood.

Improper management of solid waste is one of the main causes of environmental pollution and degradation in many cities, especially in developing countries. Many of these cities lack solid waste regulations and proper disposal facilities, including for harmful waste. Such waste may be infectious, toxic or radioactive.

Municipal waste dumping sites are designated places set aside for waste disposal. Depending on a city’s level of waste management, such waste may be dumped in an uncontrolled manner, segregated for recycling purposes, or simply burnt. Poor waste management poses a great challenge to the well-being of city residents, particularly those living adjacent the dumpsites due to the potential of the waste to pollute water, food sources, land, air and vegetation. The poor disposal and handling of waste thus leads to environmental degradation, destruction of the ecosystem and poses great risks to public health.

2. About the Study

To emphasize the link between environmental pollution and public health in an urban setting, the Optometry department of Imo state University decided to carry out a study of Owerri municipal waste dumping site, by Ekeonuwa Market in Imo state, Nigeria.

Research was carried out to determine the public health implication of environmental pollution caused by such dumping sites.

A total of 150 residents of a particular neighborhood living and schooling adjacent the dumpsite was interviewed. Of these, 40 were advised to go for further laboratory tests that entailed blood and urine sampling to assess the impact of exposure to environmental pollutants from the dumpsite on human health.

The flow chart below shows the link between the environmental pollutants from the dumpsite and public health impacts on the adjacent neighborhood. This link is further explained in this report.

The study also showed that poor neighborhoods contribute higher amount of solid waste per capital than the government.

Flow Chart of the Public Health Effects brought about by Environmental Pollution emanating from Owerri Waste Dumping Sites

b OWERRI WASTE DUMPING SITE
• Industrial Waste e.g., falloff or unused
chemicals and raw materials, expired
products and substandard goods
• Agricultural Waste e.g., pesticides
(herbicides and fungicides)
• Hospital Waste e.g., packaging
materials and containers, used syringes
and sharps, biological waste and pharmaceuticals

Kenya

ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTANTS
• Possibly Heavy Metals e.g., lead, mercury, cadmium,
arsenic, chromium, zinc, nickel and copper
• Possibly Persistent Organic Pollutants e.g.,
aldrin, dieldrin, dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), endrin, heptachlor, toxaphene, chlordane, hexachlorobenzene, mirex (organochlorines, organophosphates, carbamates) and polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs)

PUBLIC HEALTH EFFECTS
• Skin Disorders – Fungal infection, allergic...
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