Health impacts of pollution upon indigenous peoples

April 23, 2020

A new study from the University of Helsinki presents the current state of knowledge on the exposure and vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples to environmental pollution, reviewing the innumerable impacts that pollution poses on Indigenous communities from all over the world.

"While the number of studies examining the impacts of environmental pollution upon Indigenous Peoples is growing, most of this research is isolated and fragmented across disciplines and geographic regions", says Dr. Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, who led the study. "In fact, few efforts have cut across disciplinary topics and/or regions, and until today there was no global review mapping out the worldwide impacts of environmental pollution on Indigenous Peoples".

The study reviewed more than 680 different publications to highlight broad patterns of all the documented impacts of environmental pollution among Indigenous groups from all inhabited continents. The authors found out that most pollution-related health impacts documented among Indigenous Peoples are mediated through the consumption of polluted water and food, including wild foods obtained through hunting, fishing, and gathering. Because activities associated with collecting country foods generally serve important community roles, concerns associated to pollution regarding the consumption of wild foods can also impact these practices. Pollution can result in fear of consuming traditional wild foods, and foster increased reliance on nutrient?poor and expensive market foods, often increasing the risk of malnutrition and chronic diseases.

"All the literature reviewed provides clear evidence that Indigenous Peoples are largely and heavily affected by polluting activities both through their exposure and vulnerability, and that much of this pollution is linked to broader patterns of colonization", says Fernández-Llamazares. "However, we also note that, all over the world, Indigenous Peoples are developing innovative strategies to limit, abate or stop ongoing pollution and fighting to prevent it from the outset"

The literature review documents several pathways in which Indigenous Peoples are contributing to bring pollution to levels that are not detrimental to human health and ecosystem functioning. Such strategies include social mobilization, blockades, cultural resistance camps, global policy advocacy litigation processes to hold pollutants into account or participatory monitoring, among others.

Fernández-Llamazares notes "I was particularly inspired by the numerous examples where Indigenous communities and scientists have built successful partnerships to martial global support for the defence of environmental justice. It is my hope that this review will contribute to bring visibility to the arduous efforts of the many Indigenous communities that are fighting to combat pollution all over the world."
-end-


University of Helsinki

Related Pollution Articles from Brightsurf:

Pollution and pandemics: A dangerous mix
According to new research from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St.

Pollution linked to antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is an increasing health problem, but new research suggests it is not only caused by the overuse of antibiotics.

A world drowning in plastic pollution
Almost one billion tonnes of plastic will be dumped on land and in the oceans over the period from 2016 to 2040 unless the world acts, say a team of 17 global experts who have developed a computer model to track the stocks and flows of plastic around the world.

Exploring the neurological impact of air pollution
Air pollution has become a fact of modern life, with a majority of the global population facing chronic exposure.

Plastic pollution reaching the Antarctic
Food wrapping, fishing gear and plastic waste continue to reach the Antarctic.

Health impacts of pollution upon indigenous peoples
A new study from the University of Helsinki presents the current state of knowledge on the exposure and vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples to environmental pollution, reviewing the innumerable impacts that pollution poses on Indigenous communities from all over the world.

Spotting air pollution with satellites, better than ever before
Researchers from Duke University have devised a method for estimating the air quality over a small patch of land using nothing but satellite imagery and weather conditions.

A friendlier way to deal with nitrate pollution
Learning from nature, scientists from the Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan and the Korean Basic Science Institute (KBSI) have found a catalyst that efficiently transforms nitrate into nitrite -- an environmentally important reaction -- without requiring high temperature or acidity, and now have identified the mechanism that makes this efficiency possible.

Airborne pollution associated with more severe rhinitis symptoms
A team of scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a research institute supported by 'la Caixa,' has discovered that the nasal symptoms of rhinitis are more severe in people exposed to higher levels of outdoor air pollution.

Air pollution in childhood linked to schizophrenia
Children who grow up in areas with heavy air pollution have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.

Read More: Pollution News and Pollution Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.