Pollution and Health
Leaders from the United States, Europe and developing nations have
already agreed that reducing poverty must be a central element of the
plan. But the question of how to do that and to ensure the survival of
the globe's natural resources has left rich and poor nations bitterly
divided. The dispute is likely to dominate the political negotiations
here. In this continent of immense natural beauty and desperate
poverty, the debate could hardly be more relevant.
Out-of-date policies are undermining unprecedented opportunities for recent aid commitments to improve the environment and combat poverty, according to scientists at a new global research centre launched today. The warning comes from the STEPS Centre, whose urgently needed new approach to development aims to respond to 21st century conditions.
With some 60 per cent of the planet's ecosystem currently being degraded by human activities, the global community must take speedy action or else face a future of 6 billion people “scratching around trying to survive,” the head of the United Nations environmental agency said today.
“In the end we are all facing poverty if we fail to address environmental decline, if we fail to reinvest in nature’s capital,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer told the opening session of a three-day brainstorming seminar at the London School of Economics on how to mainstream environment in pro-poor development strategies.
ADB has approved a US$33.1 million loan to promote the generation of clean renewable energy from agricultural biomass wastes in the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The Efficient Utilization of Agricultural Wastes Project will help clean up the environment, promote economic growth, and reduce poverty by encouraging biomass-based systems on farms in the provinces of Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, and Shanxi.
Biomass technology uses rural waste products such as farm household waste, crop straw and residues and animal droppings. These wastes are presently disposed of inappropriately, causing emission of greenhouse gases, and air, land, and water pollution.
Indoor air pollution causes 1.6 million premature deaths every year and afflicts nearly half of the world's population, predominantly the rural poor. This makes it the second leading environmental health threat in the world and a critical barrier to poverty alleviation in low-income countries. Yet this issue is rarely discussed outside of public health circles, probably because the health consequences of indoor air pollution are not immediate and can be difficult to trace. Thus, indoor air pollution remains a quiet and neglected killer, with lack of global awareness being one of the primary obstacles to the widespread implementation of existing, proven interventions.
Poor sanitation, hygiene, and unsafe water claim the lives of more than a million children under the age of five every year. The estimated 2.6 billion people without access to proper sanitation are vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, poverty, and death.
To focus attention on what it has deemed a global crisis, the United Nations has declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. According to Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, “Sanitation is not a dirty word; it is a critical factor in human welfare and sustainable development. We need to put the spotlight on this silent crisis.”
IDRC is participating in the 4th World Water Forum 16-22 March 2006 in Mexico City.
IDRC recognizes that the water crisis is, as reflected in the summary report of the World Water Vision, “a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people — and the environment — suffer badly.”
Community-Based Waste Management for Environmental Management and Income Generation in Low-Income Areas: A Case Study of NairobiPosted on: 7 July 2008 - 2:20pm
This study focuses on the problems and opportunities of community-based waste management in Nairobi, Kenya. Within several of the city's informal settlements, women's groups have started composting organic wastes as means of improving community environmental conditions and generating income through the sale of the compost. The central purpose of the study is to assess the success of these composting projects in meeting their environmental and community development goals. A complementary purpose of the study is to add to the limited amount of research on waste in East Africa.
The participatory research techniques employed in this study revealed that significant environmental improvements have been achieved through composting, including improved health, urban agriculture opportunities, better drainage and access within the communities, and the potential to address rural-urban imbalances in resource flows. The composting projects have, to date, been less successful in their goal of generating income. However, the research revealed that other aspects of community development are equally, if not more important, than income generation.