ISWA CALLS OPEN DUMPS A ‘GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY | | Source: by Thomas Dimech | Resource, 8 September 2015 |
A new report by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is highlighting the ‘global health emergency’ affecting tens of millions of people in developing countries who lack good sanitation infrastructure.
The report, ‘Wasted Health: The Tragic Case of Dumpsites’, illustrates how the issues surrounding open dumpsites in the developed world 40 years ago are still prevalent in developing countries, but are also being compounded by unprecedented issues such as the unregulated accumulation of discarded electronics, mobile phones, and medical waste.
Some of the main problems identified in the report include:
- open dumpsites receive roughly 40 per cent of the world’s waste and serve about 3.5 to 4 billion people;
- there has been a substantial rise in unregulated dumping of mobile devices, electronic appliances, medical and municipal waste, accelerating the scale of the threat and health risks;
- uncontrolled burning of waste releases gases and toxins into the atmosphere;
- open waste sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines are more detrimental to life expectancy than malaria;
- 64 million people’s lives (equal to the population of France) are affected by world’s 50 largest dumpsites;
- in addition to the human and environmental impacts, the financial cost of open dumpsites runs into the tens of billions of US dollars.