Archive for the 'waterborne diseases' Category

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Water deficit leads to consumption of dirty water

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“Local residents in Kupang, Timor Tengah Selatan and Timor Tengah Utara, are reportedly consuming unhygienic fecal-contaminated water from nearby dikes, as sources of fresh water have dried up in the last few weeks.

“We’re using dirty water from a dike for drinking water. We have no choice,” said Marice Kono, a resident of Sainoni village, South Bikomi district, Timor Tengah Utara regency.

The dike, built by the provincial administration in 1998, was originally aimed at providing water for cattle farmers in the region.

But non-cattle farmers in Fenake village and Sainoni village have now taken advantage of the dike, fetching water for their daily consumption during the current dry season.”

Read more: The Jakarta Post

Villagers Sue Diamond Firms for Pollution in Zimbabwe

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“The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and villagers living along Save River are seeking a court order to bar three diamond mining companies in Marange district from polluting water sources.
ZELA is a common law trust established to promote environmental justice in the country. In a High Court application last week, ZELA and the villagers alleged that Anjin Investments (Chinese corporation that recently replaced striking workers with child laborers), Marange Resources (owned by corrupt billionaire Mhlanga) and Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) were polluting Save, Singwizi and Odzi rivers with sewage, chemicals and metal deposits.

ZELA said the discharges by Anjin, Marange Resources and DMC exposed inhabitants of villages living along the banks of Odzi, Singwizi and Save Rivers to risks of contracting diseases such as cancer, cholera and typhoid.”

Read more: Earth First!


Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages

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“From the air it looks like a huge lake, fed by many tributaries, but on the ground it turns out to be a murky expanse of water, in which no fish or algae can survive. The shore is coated with a black crust, so thick you can walk on it. Into this huge, 10 sq km tailings pond nearby factories discharge water loaded with chemicals used to process the 17 most sought after minerals in the world, collectively known as rare earths.

The town of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, is the largest Chinese source of these strategic elements, essential to advanced technology, from smartphones to GPS receivers, but also to wind farms and, above all, electric cars. The minerals are mined at Bayan Obo, 120km farther north, then brought to Baotou for processing.

The concentration of rare earths in the ore is very low, so they must be separated and purified, using hydro-metallurgical techniques and acid baths. China accounts for 97% of global output of these precious substances, with two-thirds produced in Baotou.

The foul waters of the tailings pond contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, but also radioactive elements such as thorium which, if ingested, cause cancers of the pancreas and lungs, and leukemia.”

Read more: Guardian


Zimbabwe: Water Chemicals, Just Politics At Play

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“Water has always been one of the biggest problems besetting the City of Harare. Not only is money unavailable to ensure enough chemicals are bought to purify our water and to repair the dilapidated infrastructure, but also there has never been an interest on the part of the authorities to ensure that our sources of water are kept clean.

Indeed, Harare’s sources of water are the most polluted in the country due to industrial waste and nothing has been done to stop the wanton release into the river systems of this toxic waste, which makes it almost impossible to purify the water.

The worst polluters of the water system are known but we have not seen the same kind of enthusiasm and gusto on the part of authorities to stem this blatant poisoning of our water, such as we saw in the past few days.

While there should be no excuses for the recent mix-up, the manner in which the debacle was handled smacked of political intrigue rather than a genuine desire to safeguard the lives of Harare residents.”

Read more: All Africa


North Korea Flood Toll Reaches 119

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“Tens of thousands of flood-hit North Korean families urgently need clean drinking water to prevent disease outbreaks, UN agencies said Thursday.

The agencies and other aid groups reported their assessment a day after state media reported a total of 119 deaths and major crop damage in recent weeks in the food-scarce nation.

The UN said wells have been contaminated by overflowing latrines, creating a high risk of a diarrhoea outbreak, while floods had damaged water sources and pumping stations.

Citing government figures, it said about 50,000 families in six badly-hit counties would need purification tablets or other help to secure clean water.”

Read more: SBS World News


Typhoon Saola Batters Taiwan, Takes Aim at China

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“Typhoon Saola is moving slowly across Taiwan, dumping torrential rains, triggering landslides, and forcing nearly the entire island to shut down.

Government officials warned residents to stay in their homes Thursday because of the powerful storm, which has already been blamed for four deaths in Taiwan.

Dozens of flights have been cancelled and major financial markets closed because of Saola, which is packing winds of up to 155 kilometers per hour.

Earlier, the storm brushed across the northwestern Philippines, dumping up to a half meter of rainfall and causing widespread flooding that left 23 people dead and thousands homeless.

Edgar Ollet of the National Disaster Coordinating Center in Manila tells VOA there is now an increased risk of water-borne diseases such as leptospirosis.”

“Usually water-borne diseases are following after heavy downpours of rain. And there are high tides here in metro Manila and a lot of waste and a lot of dead rats, (so) the water is contaminated and many people walk in these contaminated waters.”

Read more: VOA


Zimbabwe: Typhoid Continues to Wreak Havoc in Harare

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“At least 162 people in Harare and Chitungwiza have been treated for suspected typhoid, as Zimbabwe battles a resurgence of the waterborne disease that wreaked havoc late last year.

Harare City Council director of health services, Prosper Chonzi said the city recorded more than 100 cases of suspected typhoid by Friday, with most of them testing positive.

“To date over a 100 residents have been treated, 16 are admitted at Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital and more are being treated as we speak,” he said. Chonzi said a permanent solution was needed to curb future typhoid outbreaks in the capital and its satellite town, Chitungwiza.

“A permanent solution will be for residents to access potable water every day and avoid erratic water shortages,” he said. Chonzi, however, was grateful that the latest outbreak was not spreading as fast as last year’s due to a change in weather.”

Read more: All Africa

US West Coast to receive dangerous levels of Fukushima radiation

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“Researchers have released the findings of an intense study into the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster and warn that the United States isn’t exactly spared just yet. In fact, scientists now fear that incredibly contaminated ocean waters could be reaching the West Coast of the US in a matter of only five years, and the toxicity of those waves could eventually be worse than what was seen in Japan.

A team of scientists led by Joke F Lübbecke of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory have published the findings of an experiment recently conducted to measure the impact of last year’s nuclear disaster and the results are eye-opening to say the least. By simulating the spreading of contaminated ocean waters and seeing how currents could carry them across the Pacific from Japan to the US, scientists believe that the worst might be still on the way.

“Within one year it will have spread over the entire western half of the North Pacific and in five years we predict it will reach the US West Coast.” Claus Böning, co-author of the study, tells the website Environmentalresearchweb.

Böning adds that “The levels of radiation that hit the US coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima,” yet fails to exactly stand by that statement in the fullest. “But we cannot estimate accurately what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima,” the doctor adds.

In fact, others fear that contaminated ocean waters may collect in packets and produce waves of highly concentrated nuclear toxins that could pose a dangerous toll to Americans.”

Read more: RT



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“Zimbabwe scientists are investigating the possibility that diamond companies operating in the country’s Marange region may have contributed to water pollution, Rough and Polished reports.

At the urging of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA), scientists from the University of Zimbabwe have taken water samples from a number of points along the Odzi River to determine if the charges are true. ZELA Coordinator Shamiso Mtisi said that he examined the water himself and testified to its impurity. Mtisi said this was evidence of effluent runoff from the cleaning and polishing operations of four nearby diamond firms.”

World Bank Needs to Make Infrastructure Work for the Poor

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“Kikwit is a town of almost one million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Its inhabitants have no access to electricity. Because the water pumps are no longer working, they have no access to clean water either. In the 1990s, the town made news through an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, which was helped by the poor sanitary conditions.

Kikwit is not located at the end of the world. It lies underneath the power lines of the Inga dams on the mighty Congo River. Yet the electric current that hums overhead is not meant for poor people. It is exported to the mining companies in the southern Katanga province. Over the past decades, billions of dollars have been invested in the DRC’s power sector. They have created a stark energy divide: eighty-five percent of the country’s electricity is consumed by energy-intensive industries, while 94 percent of the population has no access to electricity.”

Read more: International Rivers