A new book shines a much-needed floodlight on one of the world’s most urgent – and underappreciated – environmental problems, says Professor Ravi Naidu, CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE).
‘Poisoned Planet’, by acclaimed science writer Julian Cribb, examines how, in humanity’s relentless push for convenient, cheap products, synthetic chemical substances have spread – via air, soil, water, food, living organisms, traded goods, and in people themselves – to every ecosystem, in almost every location, on the planet.
Indeed, more than 140,000 synthetic chemicals are currently in production. While many are known to be toxic or cancer-causing, the vast majority remain untested, with the full extent of their distribution and their effects on human and environmental health almost completely unknown.
“Combating global contamination is a scientific challenge that rivals even that of climate change, in that carbon emissions represent only one set of human chemical emissions from human activities, such as industry, mining, agriculture and energy production,” said Prof Naidu.
To combat the global impact, Prof Naidu, winner of the prestigious 2013 Richard Pratt – Banksia CEO Award, is implementing gCARE (global Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment), a scientific initiative to define, quantify, set limits to and clean up chemical contamination, as well as devise new ways to curb its escalating impact on human health and the environment.
gCARE will be an international alliance of leading scientific, industry government and community organisations and individuals dedicated to making ours a cleaner, healthier and safer planet.
Along with cleaning up legacy contamination, gCARE will also build capacity and develop strategies to prevent further contamination of our environment. It will be headquartered in Australia with multiple nodes in both developed and developing countries.
“In a year when the World Health Organization declared air pollution to be the world’s largest single environmental health risk, responsible for 7 million deaths worldwide in 2012, it is high time we devoted to global contamination resources commensurate with the scale of the problem,” said Prof Naidu.
“Poisoned Planet is a book whose time has come. Julian Cribb has brought together the most up-to-date scientific research on contamination globally and created a coherent, powerful picture of the true situation. It is crucial that we not only listen to the story being told in this important book, but also act upon it.”
Under Prof Naidu’s leadership, CRC CARE has since its 2005 inception been at the forefront of researching, developing and applying technologies for assessing and cleaning up contaminated sites. CRC CARE has also played a major role in harmonising Australia’s state-based policies on dealing with environmental contamination.
Prof. Ravi Naidu, Managing Director & CEO, CRC CARE, +61 (0)8 8302 5041 or +61 407 720 257
Adam Barclay, Communication Manager, CRC CARE, +61 (0)8 8302 3925 or +61 429 779 228