June 16, 2010

Lead poisoning affects thousands in Nigeria

Following a recent episode of illegal mining in Zamfara state, the country’s Ministry of Health stated that over 160 people have died thus far from lead poisoning, with 355 others diagnosed as affected.

The Nigerian government requested the help of such groups as the World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Testing by the CDC has revealed extremely high blood levels of lead in thousands of adults and children in the contaminated region. The toxic effects of the lead have left many survivors with afflictions such as blindness, deafness, or loss of all motor skills.

Agency spokesperson Vivi Abrams said, “The scope of the poisoning is unprecedented in CDC's work with lead poisoning worldwide.” The international health agencies are now urgently training local residents in effective clean-up and containment procedures, hoping to stop the toxic substance from spreading with seasonal heavy rains expected in the coming month. Our deep thankfulness, Nigerian government and all the helping organizations working to alleviate the suffering of innocent villagers.

We join in sadness for the lives lost and pray for the comfort and recovery of the afflicted as we strive to eliminate such tragedies through our more conscious care of the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has long called on humanity to act with greater regard for the ecosphere, for the sake of both the environment and all life on Earth, as during a July 2008 videoconference in Formosa.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Everyone knows by now that protecting the environment, protecting the animals, are actually protecting ourselves. So we must protect the environment. If the environments are friendly and conducive to a healthy lifestyle, then everything else will be fine.

We should have more rules, more guidelines, to protect our natural habitats. Because sometimes we overlook the long run effect. We just see the immediate benefit or gain and we forget that in the long run, if we carelessly build or damage or interfere with nature, then the consequence is very, very detrimental to ourselves and to the planet, just like what we are facing right now.

We should act fast. Be veg. Go green.


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