Blog Action Day is a free annual event that has run since 2007. Its aim is to unite the world’s bloggers by posting about the same issue, on the same day — October 16 — in order to raise awareness and trigger a positive global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all, raises awareness or even funds not-for-profits associated to the theme issue. This year’s theme is “Human Rights.” Make sure to read our other #BAD13 posts here.
Blog Action Day (BAD13)
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Plenty of daily conversations on recycling are based on its positive effects on the environment and, conversely, the negative effects accumulating trash has on the environment. However, one issue that is important to address is recycling’s effect on humans and their lifestyle. Everyone should have the right to live in a sanitary environment that is not toxic to their well being, which could have an overall effect on other aspects of their lives. In many countries, including the U.S., those who live near landfills are at risk of suffering numerous consequences from the potential release of toxic gases. Studies have shown an increase of leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and liver, lung, kidney, bladder and brain cancer in both men and women living near landfills. These studies were conducted in Montréal, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts and other locations. Another commonly reported effect of living near a landfill is low birth weight and stunted growth in children. The toxins found in landfills often come from household items like paint thinner and pesticides and household cleaners. The human right to a healthy life is one that should not be taken away just because of a manmade landfill. Unfortunately, these conditions are oftentimes worse and much more common for those living in developing countries. Large amounts of e-waste end up dumped in developing countries. This practice is often in violation of international law, yet statistics show that about 50% to 80% percent of e-waste collected in the U.S. ends up being exported. People living in impoverished areas with excessive e-waste accumulation often exhibit health conditions including but not limited to digestive, neurological, respiratory and bone problems, and many are at risk of lead poisoning. Still, many other metals are known for having toxic effects on those exposed to them. In Cateura, Paraguay, two men started collecting waste in landfills to form musical instruments and create the Recycled Orchestra. This incredible achievement is one creative technique to battle the overwhelming issue of waste pollution, but the fact that the citizens in the impoverished area are forced to live on and around landfills in the first place is disheartening. The more toxic the area people live around, the less of a chance they have to live a healthy, sanitary life. Living in an area that does not harm and poison your body is a human right we should be working to provide to others and ourselves. It will take time, but time and attention should be given to thinking of ways to help out those who are in this unfortunate situation. If practices related to exporting waste and landfills are adjusted we could take the first step to allowing more people to have this basic human right.