The health profile and impact assessment of waste scavengers (Rag Pickers) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Journal of Applied Sciences
Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria; College of Health Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
The objective of this study was to determine the health profile and impact assessment of waste scavengers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. To isolate and identify the potential pathogens that degrade the waste, samples were collected from 7 dumpsites and one control site. Serial dilutions of the samples were carried out and aliquots (0.1 mL) of the diluted samples were inoculated into appropriate media. Similarly, blood, stool, urine and nasal swabs were collected from 80 waste scavengers and 20 control subjects. The blood samples were used for the determination of haematological parameters and widal test, while urine, stool and nasal swabs were used for microbiological analysis. Five genera of bacteria were isolated from the waste dumpsites, which include Staphylococcus sp., Escherichia coli, Salmonella sp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus sp. while the control sites showed growth of Bacillus sp., only. The culture result from waste scavengers also showed similar organisms, such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Salmonella sp. There was significant decrease in the haemoglobin levels, haematocrit and Neutrophil counts of rag pickers as compared with the control subjects (p<0.05). Mean values for waste scavenger were Hb 12.12±1.85g dL1, HCT 36.33±16.7% and Neutrophil 33.33±14.06%, while control subjects were Hb 14.48±04g dL1, HCT 42.66±9.47% and Neutrophil 56.55±16.83%. The AST for waste scavengers was slightly increased, while the other LFT values were decreased compared to the control subjects. It can be inferred that waste scavengers serve as vehicles for the transmission of certain pathogens that degrade waste, thereby, constituting some public health hazards. © 2010 Asian Network for Scientific Information.
Impact assessments; Microbial degradation; Microbiological analysis; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Rag pickers; Staphylococcus aureus; Staphylococcus sp; Waste dumpsite; Bacteriology; Biodegradation; Blood; Escherichia coli; Health; Health hazards; Salmonella; Vehicle transmissions; Solid wastes