Pollution as a big health problem

by AIliashenko on September 25, 2015 - 8:26pm

This article was written by Stephen Leahy on 24 October 2012. He talks about the document called “World’s worst pollution problems” published by Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland. It is about how industrial pollutants, such as radionuclides, mercury, lead, pesticides in the air impact the public health.

They estimated that in US there are 100,000-300,000 toxic sites. Those are mainly factories in industrial areas but in low or middle income countries there are a lot of them in residential areas too. This leads to a lot of diseases, including malaria and TB. The author gives an example of a city in Nigeria, where people mine gold from rocks. However, those rocks contain extremely high level of lead which lead to poisoning and death of a lot of people including children. All these pollution problems directly impact the life expectancy and the costs on healthcare. If those counties want to increase the quality of life they need to somehow deal with it.

Stephen Leahy also points out that this is very ironic that in less development countries people get poisoned and die to supply the developed world with resources.

The numbers do not lie, and as we can see 4m to 10m tonnes of really dangerous pesticides were abandoned all over the world. To eliminate that all we’ll need around 45 billion dollars.

What do I think about this problem is that it is one of the most urgent ones. Each of us can do something. Using less energy, less hot water, do not buying unuseful things and throwing them away are only the first small steps of what we can do to save our planet. We can also plant trees, being involved in political life, go to demonstrations against building, for example, another chemical factory can help the Earth too. Only together, if each of one does something, we can try to find a solution to this monstrous problem.


Leath, Stephan. "Pollution as big a health problem as malaria or TB, finds report". theguardian 24 October 2012: pages: 1. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.



I found your post to be very interesting, and believe it is a very relevant topic that should be questioned among us more frequently. Many people might not realize this, but we are constantly surrounded by pollution. Pollution is in the water we drink, food we eat, air we breath, and in the products we use everyday. The big question we need to ask is 'what impacts does the constant exposure to pollution have on our health?' I had recently read an article on the link between air pollution and cancer by Sarah Williams. In the article she states that the evidence that outdoor air pollution increases the risk of cancer has been growing. "The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has already classified diesel exhaust as well as some other specific substances found in air pollution as causes of cancer." The evidence they had found from all over the world is strong enough to classify outdoor air pollutions as a 'category 1' - or definite cause of cancer. Yet, there has been very little effort put into decreasing air pollution. In fact, CO2 emissions from factories have increased over recent years. What I don't understand is how people donate millions and millions of dollars for cancer research, but very few try to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere which can reduce many health issues people face today. "Air pollution is considered 'one of the classic problems of public health', tackling air pollution requires leadership and action at both a national and local level" as you had also stated in your post. This is only one of many health problems caused by pollution and it will only worsen the longer we wait to take action. Pollution affects us all, and we must take action before it to late.


Great reflection, including a great topic!
I was very surprised to hear that there are roughly 100,000-300,000 toxic sites in the States still. It just goes to show how surrounded with pollution we still are, despite the regulations that have evolved and the knowledge we have gained on how bad pollution is. Pollution can be found in just about anything and can result in serious health issues.
It’s interesting the point you raised on pollution problems directly affecting healthcare costs, as it is semi contradictory from the government’s perspective. Governments enforce mass industries that serve citizens and produce maximum profits for our economy. While this is great and all, these mass industries contribute enormously to pollution and this pollution is causing health problems for these citizens, in turn costing our healthcare systems. I understand that it’s hard to balance this issue, but this is a topic that should have further discussion.
It is very sad that these less developed countries are going through so much harm to produce materialized products to the “western” world.
It is true, each of us can do our own part to contribute to pollution control and to limit our emissions in day-to-day life, however I do also think pollution control does need more of a focus with regulations as humans I believe are brutish and put their wants above all.

About the author