There has been increasing global concern over the public health impacts attributed to environmental pollution, in particular, the global burden of disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about a quarter of the diseases facing mankind today occur due to prolonged exposure to environmental pollution. Most of these environment-related diseases are however not easily detected and may be acquired during childhood and manifested later in adulthood.
Improper management of solid waste is one of the main causes of environmental pollution and degradation in many cities, especially in developing countries. Many of these cities lack solid waste regulations and proper disposal facilities, including for harmful waste. Such waste may be infectious, toxic or radioactive.
Municipal waste dumping sites are designated places set aside for waste disposal. Depending on a city’s level of waste management, such waste may be dumped in an uncontrolled manner, segregated for recycling purposes, or simply burnt. Poor waste management poses a great challenge to the well-being of city residents, particularly those living adjacent the dumpsites due to the potential of the waste to pollute water, food sources, land, air and vegetation. The poor disposal and handling of waste thus leads to environmental degradation, destruction of the ecosystem and poses great risks to public health.
Air pollution is one obvious environmental health threat in all countries, contributing to a number of illnesses, such as asthma and in some cases leading to premature death. Of particular concern is the fact that children are more vulnerable to air pollution than adults, and increased rates of infant mortality have been recorded in highly polluted areas.
Concerns about the impact of air pollution on health and the economy have resulted in measures to mitigate emissions of the most harmful pollutants, such as particle pollution (acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or...