Toxic roads: unearthing hazardous waste dumping

The research finds a correlation to the higher incidence of infant mortality when mothers and babies live within five kilometers of the roads, likely because of exposure to toxic materials used, transported and dumped during their construction, according to economists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The study looked at roads that connect Addis Ababa to the neighboring countries of Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Kenya. Using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data gathered in 2005 and 2011 from nearby populations, and corresponding data on Ethiopian roads, they found a higher incidence of death and disease on roads to Djibouti and Somalia. The same routes have been identified through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Greenpeace for illegal toxic waste handling, the authors said. The team found that infant mortality rates jumped from 8.5 percent to 11 percent in the affected areas, while children under the age of 5 were more likely to suffer from low blood hemoglobin levels and severe anemia.

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