43. Air and Water Pollution: Burden and Strategies for Control

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CHAPTER INFO

Editors/Authors: Tord Kjellström, Madhumita Lodh, Tony McMichael, Geetha Ranmuthugala, Rupendra Shrestha, and Sally Kingsland
Pages: 16

Abstract

Richard Lord, www.rlordphoto.com

The global burden of disease associated with pollution hazards is estimated at 23 to 30 percent. These estimates include infectious diseases related to drinking water, sanitation, and food hygiene; respiratory diseases related to indoor air pollution from biomass burning; and vector–borne diseases that have an environmental component, such as malaria.

The shift of hazardous industrial production from developed to developing countries creates jobs for poor people at the price of exposure to air pollution from use of outdated technologies. While the increased use of motor vehicles offers real advantages to poor populations, a worldwide ban on leaded gas, along with use of better–quality diesel fuel, would help to reduce harmful emissions.

Developing countries also face major water quantity and quality challenges, compounded by the effects of rapid industrialization. Concerted actions are needed to safely manage the use of toxic chemicals and to develop monitoring and regulatory guidelines.

The development of control strategies requires investment in research on health effects and interventions in specific populations and exposure situations. Health professionals and authorities should partner with other sectors to identify priority interventions. International collaboration involving both governmental and nongovernmental organizations is needed to guide this highly interdisciplinary and intersectoral area of disease control.