Posts about Health

Workers burning harmful waste at the Agobogbloshie dump in Ghana.

Electronic Waste: Intoxicating Agbogbloshie


At breathtaking speed, our world is being inundated with ever more sophisticated electronic equipment. Used devices hardly a year or two old, are replaced with increasing frequency, to be cashed in or be thoughtlessly dumped for the next much fancier gadget. Most “outdated” models are added to a recycling bubble already stressed at the seams. Considering that resources are scarce and thus valuable, this sort of rotation system is still unrivaled. Yet, have you ever wondered how – and above all – where, your discarded cell phone, laptop or PC may have ended up eventually? It is estimated that more than half of the electronic waste from, e.g., the United States, is shipped to countries fairly ignorant of environmental issues - and there it is successfully buried in oblivion. Like for instance in China, India or Ghana in West Africa. A young company in Boston, Mass., sets an example of how fruitful sensible recycling can be.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Bacteria cultures in a petri dish: (Lack of) Hygiene at airports and aboard aeroplanes.

Germs: Invisible intruders infesting airports and aircraft


Under the microscope, microorganisms offer a fascinating picture. Bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoa come in pretty, bright colours and interesting shapes: green balls with or red ones without handsome spikes, orange spirals, blue spheres, yellow rods, violet blotches or grey furry polka-dots. Luckily, the majority of bacteria are considered harmless to helpful. Other lifeforms invade our immune system and cause tremendous havoc in our bodies. Against some, no approved and/or effective pharmaceuticals are available on the market as of yet.

The more populated or frequented a place is, the more germ-infested it becomes. Being of the travelling kind and a member of the cosmopolitan crowd: Have you ever wondered about the degree of cleanliness while at an airport or aboard an aeroplane? If you have, what comes next won’t be surprising news to you. If you haven’t, you better brace yourselves. Travelmath, an online trip calculator, conducted a study on the hygiene on site and sent out a microbiologist to take samples from five airports and four flights – with disconcerting results. Albeit, the most unappetising surface is not the lavatory’s door handle, as is often anticipated. Here’s the hit list of the ugliest bacteria spins:

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A Lufthansa retro plane. Copyright Deutsche Lufthansa/Oliver Roesler.

Ambulance on wings for emergencies abroad


It does not take a daredevilish stunt person to find themselves in a precarious health situation all of a sudden. Regular people pursuing their unspectacular routine chores fall victim to unforeseen circumstances all the time: a life-threatening coronary attack may occur during a stressful business meeting or a cervical vertebra get seriously dislocated on a slippery stairwell. Should this happen on familiar terrain with trusted help around the corner, bad enough. But what, if destiny strikes far away from home?

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Reading time: about 3 minutes