The problem has impacts on both humanity and ecosystems, and includes adverse effects from long-term exposure to low or sub-lethal concentrations of single chemicals or to mixtures of chemicals. Currently, more than 90 per cent of water and fish samples from aquatic environments are contaminated by pesticides. Estimates indicate that about 3 per cent of exposed agricultural workers suffer from an episode of acute pesticide poisoning every year. Pollution with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is widespread, in particular affecting remote areas such as the Arctic and Antarctic. Effective management of these issues requires better information gathering and integrated approaches to chemicals, radioactive materials and waste management, supported where appropriate by improved environmental governance. The process for greater cooperation and coordination between the chemicals and waste conventions (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm) provides an opportunity to enhance awareness raising, knowledge transfer, capacity building and national implementation that should be further explored. Broadly, a two-speed situation exists, with developed countries generally having comprehensive systems for chemical and hazardous waste management, while developing countries generally do not. Developing countries and economies in transition struggle with basic landfill co-disposal of many types of wastes, with little capacity for their separation and sound management. At the global level, about 1.1 billion people do not have access to a safe water supply and 2.6 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The associated health impacts are alarming: 1.7 million deaths per year, of which 90 per cent are children under five years of age. Disposal of waste is the most neglected area of SWM services and the current practices are grossly unscientific. Almost all municipal authorities deposit solid waste at a dump-yard situated within or outside the city haphazardly and do not bother to spread and cover the waste with inert material. These sites emanate foul smell and become breeding grounds for flies, rodent, and pests. Liquid seeping through the rotting organic waste called leachate pollutes underground water and poses a serious threat to health and environment.
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