Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dandora dump affecting health

Did you know that smoke from a rubbish dump site is similar to smoke from other burning matter, and causes similar harm to your health?

Individuals living around the Dandora rubbish dump site have become particularly susceptible to chest infections as a result of exposure to smoke from burning garbage on a daily basis. Further complications are reported by those who sort through garbage in the site.

An interview with Dr Ndambuki Mboloi, a lung specialist, has established that inhalation of smoke may initially begin only with an irritation, but this is only the first step in a process that could see the person developing full blown bronchitis.

Dr Mboloi, explained the short and long term reactions to smoke. Immediate inhalation of the smoke chokes the person, leading to coughing, whereas the bad odour could trigger asthma attacks. Continued inhalation of the smoke over a long period of time could lead to bronchitis.

A twist of fate has forced Kenyans residing in estates and slums around the Dandora dumpsite to put up with the harsh conditions on a daily basis. The 'boma', as they call it, is characterized by irregular piles of all types of garbage imaginable, cloaked by foul, smoky air. It has been in existence for over twenty years, and has seen different individuals resort to it as a source of income.

Garbage from the 'boma' offers various recyclable materials such as plastic and glass bottles, polythene bags, plastic carpets among others, which are distributed to different businesses. Not all days are promising but some must lead and win that struggle to collect enough materials to sell in order to feed their families. They have put up shacks that provide shelter when they need to rest or eat. At the end of day, they clean up at a nearby stream, and head home. And as a result of spending so much time surrounded by smoke and odour, some of them have developed various health complications ranging from chest infection to swelling of the stomach.

Statistics from the Nairobi City Council's website further reveal the intensity of the respiratory health problem. A 2007 morbidity case study of nairobi province shows that disorders of respiratory stem are the leading in occurence among 340, 351 out of 801,212 people. + from statistics from Dandora health center. Continued exposure to irritating gases, fumes and other substances could lead to permanent lung damage. This raises concern and calls for the attention of the local government to seek alternative waste disposal measures and preserve the health of residents from Dandora region.

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