• Animals suffering from toxic waste

Waste Management

Animals suffering from toxic waste

Jan 03 2013

The effects of toxic waste often hit the headlines, with serious detrimental health ramifications, not to mention the poisonous effect on the environment.

Indeed, waste that is not disposed of responsibly and properly can cause serious health problems for individuals.

Toxic wastes often contain carcinogens, and exposure to these can cause cancer.

For example, a cluster of the rare blood cancer polycythemia vera was found around a toxic waste dump site in northeast Pennsylvania in America in 2008.

The dumping of toxic waste is highly illegal, owing to the serious health risks associated with it.

Although the risks are well documented for humans, the detrimental health effects on animals are far less frequently discussed.

What is more worrying, still, is that the likelihood of a stray animal coming across toxic waste is far greater than a human.

Wild or stray animals are unaware of what they are coming across, and could therefore ingest toxic waste should it be left somewhere illegally.

Animals can also ingest plastic, which is severely harmful.

"Animals, especially cows, ingest the plastic and develop complications, which finally result in their death," Gustavo Pinto, a veterinary surgeon, told The Times of India.

There are no specific figures of the amount of animals that have died from toxic waste.

"A lot of cases go unreported," Mr Pinto explained.

For the majority of animals, particularly cattle, a post-mortem will not be done, so many cases are not reported.

Plastic is a particularly dangerous thing for these animals to eat.

"Cows and other cattle are not selective eaters. The often swallow food with plastic," claimed Astrid Almeida, veterinary director of the Assagao-based International Animal Rescue.


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