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Environment pollution more hazardous than climate change, say experts

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on October 23, 2018

Environment/chemical pollution is five times more dangerous the climate change   -  istock/Getty Images

Ignored, it can result in extinction of humans in 100-150 years

“Unsafe environment poses greater risk to health than climate change. If not addressed on a war-footing it could result in extinction of humans in the next 100- 150 years. We need to sensitise the people about this challenge,” said Ravi Naidu, environmental contamination scientist and Managing Director of CRC CARE (The Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment).

Emphasising the need for human capital and investment to clean up the contaminated sites, Naidu said: “Globally less than 10 per cent of the contaminated sites have been cleaned up. There are an estimated five million potentially- contaminated sites (globally) that threaten the well-being of the people and ecosystems.”

Serious take

The European Chemicals Agency has listed more than 1.44 lakh chemicals as hazardous and this is growing by about 2,000 every year, Naidu added.

Ravi Naidu was here for the 1st Global Cleanup Congress 2018. The Congress, which is the brain-child of Naidu is being hosted jointly by CRC CARE, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, University of New Castle, Australia, and Global CARE. Researchers from Australia, the UK, Europe, North America and New Zealand are participating in the three-day event.

Citing a recent World Health Organisation report, Naidu said: “Seven million deaths are linked to air pollution and another five million to chemical exposure. This compares with just over two million deaths from cancer, one million from diabetes and an equal number from HIV/AIDS.”

“In terms of significance, environment/chemical pollution is five times as large as the climate change impact,” CRC CARE MD said, stressing the need for every country and State to work with policy makers to clean up the environment before it is too late.

While the environment experts were not able to list the number of hot spots (contaminated sites) in the State, Santiago Mahimairaja, Dean, TNAU, said: “Disposal of tannery waste has impacted 50,000 hectares in Vellore district. While measures have been initiated to sensitise people about chromium contamination in the soil, governments and the industry are only just beginning to take it seriously. Humanity should work together to solve such issues.”

Published on October 23, 2018

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