Urgent Action Required Against Antimicrobial Pollution: UNBy Sofía Hanna | Fri, 03/04/2022 - 11:46
The United Nations’ Environment Assembly and the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance warned of significant environmental damage if the amount of antimicrobial waste is not reduced. The organizations urged countries to implement new safety measures to properly dispose of antimicrobial waste from human and animal food manufacturing facilities.
The Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance had previously asked world leaders to improve their food systems to significantly reduce antimicrobial drug waste. The group is now urging for deeper research on the waste entering the environment and the implementation of preventive measures, including: antimicrobial manufacturing pollution standards to better control and monitor antimicrobial pollution, the enforcement of laws to reduce or eliminate the use of antimicrobials not prescribed by a trained healthcare provider and standards to treat and manage discharge from food-animal farms, aquaculture farms and crop fields.
Antimicrobial drugs are used in human and veterinary medicine all over the world and antimicrobial pesticides are also used in agriculture to treat and prevent diseases in plants. The overuse of antimicrobial drugs can cause bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites to stop responding to medicines, which makes infections harder to treat and increases the risks of severe illness and death.
Drug-resistant diseases contribute to nearly 5 million deaths every year, as reported by FAO, and without correct treatment and management, the world will rapidly approach a tipping point where the antimicrobials needed to treat infections in humans, animals and plants will no longer be effective. “The connections between antimicrobial resistance, environmental health and the climate crisis are becoming increasingly stark. We must act now to protect the environment, and people everywhere, from the damaging effects of antimicrobial pollution,’ said Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister, Barbados, and Co-Chair, Global Leader Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.
The Mexican government has deployed national strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance focusing on improving awareness and understanding through effective communication, education and training. Government initiatives also focus on surveillance and research of antimicrobial resistance in human and animal health, the reduction of infections through effective hygiene and sanitary measures and the optimal use of antimicrobial agents.