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The 2011 Top Ten Worst Pollution Problems Worldwide
CH-Zurich – 10 November 2011 - Green Cross Switzerland and the US-based Blacksmith Institute are presenting a top ten list of the world's worst pollution problems. Using data collected over the past three years from more than 2,000 toxic hotspots, the Environmental Report 2011 identifies the top ten sources of pollution and calculates their health impacts.
"Toxic exposure associated with mining and industrial processes all over the world is a major health risk for the affected population," says David Hanrahan, Head of Global Program at the Blacksmith Institute. "Despite the fact that at least as many people suffer from pollution-related illnesses as from malaria or tuberculosis, the international community does not support aid initiatives in most countries," emphasizes Nathalie Gysi, Executive Director, Green Cross Switzerland.
Green Cross: Switzerland can send global message by voting to end reliance on nuclear energy
27 September, 2011 – Geneva/Zurich/Moscow: Swiss lawmakers must grasp the historic opportunity they have to steer their country away from using nuclear energy and position Switzerland as a leader in Europe and globally in developing alternative and renewable sources of energy, according to Green Cross International and its founding president, Mikhail Gorbachev.
People in the Chernobyl area have sustained neuropsychological consequences, regardless of whether they have been displaced or not.
On April 26, 1986, a nuclear disaster occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, contaminating areas of what are now modern-day Ukraine, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, and Russia. Beyond radiation exposure and cancer risks, the disaster led to the imposition of diverse acute and chronic stressors on the people living around the site. Principal among these health effects are psychological consequences, including ongoing psychological stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and diminished well-being. The possibility of health effects other than cancer has not been sufficiently addressed to this day.
Initiated and supported by Green Cross Switzerland, a study was conducted to assess the health effects of the Chernobyl disaster, particularly with regards to quality of life, functioning, and neuropsychological status among the victims of the disaster.
A Contamination as Massive as in Chernobyl is Unlikely
As an organisation that has been concerned with the long-term effects of Chernobyl for fifteen years, Green Cross Switzerland is deeply concerned over the ongoing crisis in the Japanese nuclear power plants. According to Dr. Stephan Robinson, Unit Manager (Water, Legacy), the nuclear power plants affected in Japan have a fundamentally different structure from that of the Chernobyl reactor. The Japanese nuclear reactors have a containment and do not contain any graphite that could burn over the course of weeks as was the case in Chernobyl. "The decay residual heat in case of a failure of the cooling system cannot be dissipated, however, which leads to a pressure build-up in the reactor building," explains Dr. Stephan Robinson. If the containment does not hold, a significantly smaller contaminated area (with a radius of approx. 10 to 30 km) than that of Chernobyl with approx. 40,000 km2 (radius of approx. 200 km) is nonetheless to be expected due to the lack of graphite in each nuclear power plant.