Sweden causing serious environmental harm in India

February 6th, 2009 - 1:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 6 (ANI): In a new research, it has been found that Sweden is indirectly causing serious environmental harm in India, as the European country is a major consumer of pharmaceutical substances from Indian factories that fail to adequately treat their wastewater.

The research was carried out by scientists from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

We used to think that pharmaceuticals that ended up in the environment mostly came from the use of the medicines and that the substances were dispersed through wastewater. We now know that certain factories that manufacture substances release very large quantities of active substances, said associate professor Joakim Larsson of the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg,Sweden, one of the research scientists behind the studies.

The water from the pharmaceutical industries is highly toxic.

Larsson has visited the industrial zone near Hyderabad, India, an important centre for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical substances.

Here, his research team has taken samples of the water discharged from a treatment plant that treats wastewater from around 90 pharmaceutical factories before it is released.

We have previously shown that the treated water contained exceptionally high levels of various pharmaceutical substances, including several broad-spectrum antibiotics, said Larsson.

We estimated that the treatment plant released 45 kilograms of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin in one day, which is equivalent to five times the daily consumption of Sweden, he added.

Such high levels of antibiotics in the water are a cause for alarm as there is an increased risk of spawning resistant bacteria, an issue of global concern. This can lead to hose antibiotics that are invaluable today becoming ineffective sooner and not killing the bacteria of tomorrow.

In addition, the environment is affected locally by the pollution.

The research proved that the substances manufactured in Hyderabad are sold in Sweden.

Where the active substance in a pharmaceutical product is manufactured is not public information, but the Swedish Medical Products Agency can grant exemptions for research purposes.

The researchers analyzed data from the Medical Products Agency for all 242 products on the Swedish market that contained any of nine specific substances.

They found that 123 products contained substances from India and for 74 of the products, 31 per cent, the active substance was manufactured by one of the factories that send their wastewater to the treatment plant outside Hyderabad that was studied.

The analysis shows quite clearly that a large number of medicinal products on the Swedish market is made by manufacturers that send their effluent to a treatment plant that does not treat their water satisfactorily, said Larsson. (ANI)

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