Protecting communities by remediating polluted sites worldwide

David Hanrahan, Bret Ericson, Jack Caravanos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Millions of people worldwide are suffering health risks as a result of living near highly contaminated sites including abandoned industrial and mining sites, and polluting artisanal areas. More than 3000 sites across 50 developing countries have been identified. Nearly 100 million people are at risk at just these sites. The main impact falls on people in low- and middle-income countries, with children being particularly vulnerable. Interventions have been implemented at about 100 of these sites, with significant success in reducing impacts. This paper aims to draw the attention of practising engineers to the scale and impacts of the problem and to encourage expanded efforts to implement cost-effective solutions. Tackling contaminated sites is part of broader efforts under the umbrella of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution to reduce environmental pollution, which is one of the largest contributors to the burden of disease worldwide. Clean-up is required but prevention of pollution must also be a high priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Civil Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 21 2015


  • Public health
  • Rehabilitation, reclamation & renovation
  • Waste management and disposal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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