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Avoiding Adverse Health Impacts from Contaminated Vegetables: Options for Three Wetlands in Phnom Penh, Cambodia  

Avoiding Adverse Health Impacts from Contaminated Vegetables: Options for Three Wetlands in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Farmers in several wetlands near Phnom Penh make a good living by growing vegetables and selling them in local markets for human consumption. These vegetables, however, pose serious health hazards to consumers, since they are grown using wastewater, much of it polluted with heavy metals from industries. This study examines five options to induce farmers to cease vegetable production, while preserving their livelihoods. The options were designed to be roughly equal in effectiveness; their costs were then compared to identify the least costly method of achieving the stated objective. Each option includes a public awareness campaign to warn consumers that the consumption of vegetables grown in polluted wetlands poses serious health risks. . In the first of these options, the Compensation Option, the Municipality of Phnom Penh gives each farmer USD 4 for each square meter of farmed land if they cease vegetable production. The average total annual cost to the Municipality is about USD 100,850 over a 20-year period at a 10% discount rate (Table 15). . Other options involve the relocation of farmers to new agricultural lands that draw irrigation water either from a river (Relocation Option 1), or from treated household wastewater (Relocation Option 2). These options offer farmers a financial package in term of investment and infrastructure costs. The average total annual costs (to the Municipality) of Relocation Options 1 and 2 would be USD 70,091 and USD 71,115 respectively over a 20-year period. . The other alternatives consist of converting vegetable farms into non-edible production areas, or industrial zones (Conversion Options 1 and 2). Their annual costs for the Municipality are not significantly different; USD 166,021, and USD 169,076 respectively over a 20-year period. The affected farmers would each receive a financial package to assist them in securing new jobs. A cost-effectiveness analysis was used to estimate the incremental net costs relative to the base case scenario. The net costs of the five options were then ranked to identify the one with the lowest incremental net costs. There was no assessment of the monetary value of environmental and health impacts in the base case scenario. . Relocation Option 2 turned out to be the most cost-effective, followed by Relocation Option 1, and Conversion Option 1. An average individual farmer?s net benefits in the new agricultural lands was estimated at about USD 7,868 in Relocation Option 2 compared with USD 1,686 in the base case scenario (see Table 19). A sensitivity analysis showed that Relocation Option 2 ranked first even if various assumptions about costs, vegetable prices and discount rates were varied.

Published by: Economy & Environment Program for South East Asia -
Uploaded on: Jun 2005
File size: 657 KB - Language: English
Keyword(s): Financial Mechanisms And Incentives , Watershed Management
Category: Health

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