Pollution Control and Waste Management in Developing Countries

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A comprehensive, practical view of environmental management, this book records the experience gained through regional seminars in Africa over several years. It uses real examples to illustrate the points it makes. Subjects covered are: air pollution; coastal and marine pollution; managing domestic, industrial, mining, biomedical, nuclear and radioactive waste; solid waste re-use and recycling; waste water treatment; bioremediation; microbiological assessment and monitoring of pollutants; laboratory waste management; moving hazardous waste between nations; best practice for building a distributed waste network.

The book will be of tremendous benefit to policy-makers, non-governmental organisations, intergovernmental organisations, university and research institutions as well as concerned citizens.



Environmental and Health Implications of Waste Management in Developing Countries

The aim of this chapter is to present an overview of the current waste management strategies employed in developing countries, highlight the environmental and health implications and suggest ways of improving the situation. Many developing countries are faced with varying stages of their development, from the need to accelerate socio-economic development on the one hand and how to deal with the effects of rapid growth in population, land use, resource use and increased waste generation on the other. Notwithstanding the complexities of developing countries' situation, waste management poses new challenges and opportunities. Waste Management is a tool for environmental protection, preventive medicine and urban hygiene. Waste avoidance and recycling also help conserve scarce natural resources. Waste, simply defined as "useless remains or by products" in themselves, with the exception of a small percentage of toxic or potentially infectious materials, do not pose a direct threat to health. The biggest threat to health from waste is when it is left uncollected, or improperly stored or disposed. They can attract vermin and insects, which are carriers of disease and pose real threats to public health. They also have the potential to contaminate water sources, air and land (soil), bringing aesthetic, environmental and health risks. The most commonly encountered risks associated with urban waste in developing countries are summarised in the paper. The most significant risk from improper waste management is that of health as the majority of deaths in developing countries are caused by diseases transmitted by human waste (infections and parasitic diseases) and airborne wastes (respiratory diseases). The identification of the sources and types of waste helps to limit the potential for harm as it enables the correct handling procedures to be followed which are appropriate to waste type.


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