Ecosystem Exploitation: Environment, Human and Animal Health Risk
Received Date: Nov 02, 2017 / Accepted Date: Nov 17, 2017 / Published Date: Nov 24, 2017
Urbanization is principally associated with industrialization that increases the settlement area and creates industrial zones . An industrial process plays a major role in the degradation of environmental health. Every developing country is often seen of having a high percentage of heavily polluting activities and areas within its industrial sector. In developing countries, a double environmental effect is occurring. The old environmental problems, such as deforestation and soil degradation, remain largely unsolved. At the same time, new problems linked to industrialization are emerging, such as rising greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and growing volumes of waste production leading to severe ecological and human health risk .
Many developing countries still practice the open dumping of municipal wastes. Such practices have imposed a severe health as well as environmental threat to the nearby residents within the urban areas. It has been reported that various diseases like malaria, chest pains, diarrhea and cholera have affected both nearby and far residents from the location of the waste dumpsites . Population increase has dramatically raised the production of wastes of all kinds . Besides, the unplanned development of small and medium cities/towns leads to accumulation of municipal solid wastes including toxic disposals, which are increasingly finding their way into the very core of the nearby water bodies significantly affecting the wetland dependent biota as well as nearby environment .
Pharmaceuticals are the complex mixture of medicinal products that may be introduced into the environment after use in patients by sewage effluent pathways . The consumption of pharmaceuticals is increasing gradually in both hospitals and households. Hospital patients are regularly administered by relatively high doses of drugs, therefore, hospital wastewater consistently contributes to the magnitude of environmental risk posed by pharmaceuticals originating from hospitals which are rarely accounted . Of the total amount of waste generated by health-care activities globally, about 75-90% is general, non-hazardous waste comparable to domestic waste. The remaining 10-25% is considered hazardous material that may be infectious, toxic or radioactive . At the global level, nearly 64 percent of healthcare institutions are reported to have unsatisfactory Bio-Medical Waste Management facilities. India is one of the first countries to implement Bio-Medical Waste Management rules. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India notified the “Biomedical Waste Management and Handling Rules”, in July 1998 (later amended in 2003 and 2011) under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Even after a decade of its implementation, most Indian hospitals are yet to achieve the desired standards .
Studies confirmed the presence of trace concentration of pharmaceuticals in the biomedical and municipal sewage wastewater. Human used pharmaceuticals are introduced into the environment from domestic households and from hospitals via urine and feces and by improper disposal. A low concentration of pharmaceuticals appears in the natural environment because only partial amount is eliminated in the wastewater treatment plant while residue amount reaches the ground water . There is a report on the presence of microbial resistance to antibiotics and heavy metals in the environment. Due to the frequent use of pharmaceuticals and heavy metals by humans in medical and industrial practices respectively and their release into the environment their contribution has increased the global pool of resistant microorganisms significantly posing a serious threat to the environmental health and its biodiversity [11,12].
Also, a report establishes that the aquatic environment especially is contaminated by the antimicrobial resistant microbes due to constant introduction of biomedical and municipal wastewater from various source of origin. Evidence on anuran limb deformities due to aquatic predators and microbial parasitic infections has already been reported . Although a sewage treatment plant can reduce the antimicrobial resistance stain, a selective elimination is not possible . According to a report incinerator also contributes a wide range of pollutants which leads to health deterioration and environmental degradation. The major impact on health is the occurrence of cancer and respiratory symptoms, also congenital abnormalities, hormonal defects and increase in sex ratio are most frequently observed.
Environmental threats such as global warming, acidification, photochemical ozone or smog formation, eutrophication is accounted. More attention should be given to the analysis and replacement of hazardous contaminants from hospital waste, and to their elimination in wastewater treatment plant. It is important to investigate ecotoxic risks linked to various emissions and the production of metabolites, especially during transit inside wastewater treatment plant [15,16]. Therefore, evaluating the risk assessment of these pharmaceuticals to aquatic life, human health and the ecosystems that receive them is very important to generate the database information as little information is available on biomedical waste toxicity.
Environmental contaminants generated from any source are the substances, when accidentally or deliberately introduced into the environment, have the potential to harm the health of the environment and its biodiversity. Declining biodiversity is a major and ongoing environmental concern among the experts throughout the globe. Although aquatic biodiversity has been declining continually, species extinction rates have gone from about one species per year over the past 600 million years to hundreds of species per year in recent times. Since, aquatic organisms serve as an important indicator of water quality and ecosystem health  the toxicological evaluation of sewage waste and early-warning responses at the sub-cellular level is useful for the protection of aquatic biodiversity as well as prevention of long-term ecological and environmental damages.
Exploitation of natural habitat and untreated waste dumping is definitely the biggest challenge to restore the environment and protect human and animal health. Hence, there is an urgent need for introduction of a proper management system and also to undertake some necessary action plan from both government and private sectors before disposing of the hospitals, household, pharmaceuticals and industrial wastes in the environment as these are directly linked to human as well as animal health and our precious environment.
I am grateful and thankful towards all the members of Biotech Hub, Chaiduar College for the help and support during the composition of the manuscript. I am also grateful to Dr. Anand Prakash Maurya for making the valuable correction in the script.
Conflict of Interest
- Kurucu Y, Chiristina NK (2008) Monitoring the impacts of urbanization and industrialization on the agricultural land and environment of the Torbali, Izmir region, Turkey. Environ Monit Assess 136: 289-297.
- Cabral-oliveira J, Pratas J, Mendes S, Pardal MA (2015) Trace elements in edible rocky shore species: Effect of sewage discharges and human health risk implications. Hum. Ecol. Risk. Assess 21: 135-145.
- Sankoh FP, Yan X, Tran Q (2013) Environmental and health impact of solid waste disposal in developing cities: A case study of granville brook dumpsite freetown, sierra leone. JEP 4: 665-670.
- Hamad TA, Agll AA, Hamad YM, Sheffield JW (2014) Solid waste as renewable source of energy : Current and future possibility in Libya. Case Studies in Thermal Engineering 4: 144-152.
- Straka TM, Lentini PE, Lumsden LF, Wintle BA, Ree DR (2016) Urban bat communities are affected by wetland size, quality and pollution levels. Ecol Evol 6: 4761-4774.
- Lange R, Dietrich D (2008) Environmental risk assessment of pharmaceutical drug substances-conceptual considerations. Toxicol Lett 131: 97-104.
- Aukidy MA, Verlicchi P, Voulvoulis N (2014) A framework for the assessment of the environmental risk posed by pharmaceuticals originating from hospital effluents. Sci. Total Environ 493: 54-64.
- Chartier Y, Emmanuel J, Pieper U, Prüss A, Rushbrook P et al. (2014) Safe management of wastes from health-care activities (2nd edn). WHO, Switzerland.
- INCLEN program evaluation network (IPEN) study group (2014) Bio-medical waste management: Situational analysis & predictors of performances in 25 districts across 20 Indian States. Indian J Med Res 139: 141-153.
- Giger W, Alder AC, Golet EM, Kohler HE, Mcardell CS et al. (2003) Occurrence and fate of antibiotics as trace contaminants in wastewaters, sewage sludges, and surface waters. Chimia 57: 485-491.
- Poudel RC, Joshi DR, Dhakal NR, Karki AB (2009) Occurrence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in environmental wastes. Our Nature 151-157.
- Sharma M, Thapaliya HP (2009) Antibiotic profiling of heavy metal resistant bacterial isolates from the effluent of a garment industry in lalitpur, Nepal. Our Nature pp: 203-206.
- Sessions SK, Ballengée B (2010) Developmental deformities in amphibians. The occurance of deformities in amphibiaans. Arts Catalyst, London and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, England 62-72.
- Akiba M, Senba H, Otagiri H, Prabhasankar VP, Taniyasu S et al. (2015) Impact of wastewater from different sources on the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli in sewage treatment plants in south India. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf 115: 203-208.
- Sharma R, Sharma M, Sharma R, Sharma V (2013) The impact of incinerators on human health and environment. Rev Environ Health 28: 67-72.
- Frederic O, Yves P (2014) Pharmaceuticals in hospital wastewater: Their ecotoxicity and contribution to the environmental hazard of the effluent. Chemosphere 115: 31-39.
- Helfrich LA, Neves RJ, Parkhurst J (2009) Sustaining America’s aquatic biodiversity why is aquatic biodiversity declining? Virginia Cooperative Extension pp: 420-520.
Citation: Boro F, Hazarika A (2017) Ecosystem Exploitation: Environment, Human and Animal Health Risk . J Ecol Toxicol 1: 107.
Copyright: © 2017 Boro F, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.