PS 95-192 - Environmental pollution impact on public health in Enugu, Nigeria

Friday, August 7, 2009
Exhibit Hall NE & SE, Albuquerque Convention Center
Godfrey Uzochukwu , Interdisciplinary Waste Management Institute, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro
Background/Question/Methods There has been an increasing global concern about the impacts of environmental pollution on public health. Poor management of solid waste is one of the major causes of environmental pollution and degradation in many cities and remote villages in Enugu, Nigeria. Many of these cities and villages do not have solid waste regulations and proper disposal facilities, including for harmful waste. Toxic chemicals contaminate drinking waters, build up in human organs and bones, and become a “time bomb” that may trigger birth defects, physical disabilities, mental retardation, and cancer, years after being consumed. After a rain event, raw sewage flows directly into creeks and streams and causes water pollution. To emphasize the connection between environmental pollution and public health in remote villages, observed air quality, water quality and vegetation were noted and linked to people and their health. Results/Conclusions Field observation shows a highly stressed air and water supply system and vegetation patterns. The impact of exposure to environmental pollutants on people was evident. There were chronic cases of cough and congestion caused by fine dust particles and worm infections caused by poor drinking water. Diabetes and high blood pressure may be linked to contaminant exposure. Particle sizes of dust are directly linked to their potential to cause health problems. Particles are transported over long distances by wind and then settle on the ground or in the water. These particles can get into the lungs, heart, and blood stream. Fine particles also cause reduced visibility (haze) in remote villages of Enugu Nigeria. High levels of environmental pollutants (lead, mercury, cadmium, etc) have adverse health impacts such as illnesses related to the respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatological systems such as upper respiratory tract infections, chronic bronchitis, asthma, fungal infections, allergic and unspecified dermatitis/pruritis – inflammation and itchiness of the skin.
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