Global environment monitoring for ecosystem health and human well being — report from a round table discussion on international collaborative studies
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Under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Program on Plant Bioassays (IPPB) conducted an international monitoring project on genotoxic effects of air, water and soil pollutants. Results of 20 laboratories from 14 different countries involved in this program were compiled in 26 papers and are in press for publication in a special issue of Mutation Research. The Pan African Environmental Mutagen Societies (PAEMS) 1999 meeting at Harare, Zimbabwe chose this program as an example of international collaborative studies and the program was included in the Round Table Discussion. The IPPB/UNEP emphasizes the use of simple, quick and inexpensive plant bioassays to detect the genotoxicity of pollutants to protect ecosystem health and human well being. The ultimate goals are to establish a database on the environmental status of different areas of the world; and to use plant bioassays as demonstrative tools of harmful effects of pollution to carry out environmental education at thegrassroots level. Among the symposium speeches and scientific reports in this meet i ng, infectiou s d iseases and mycotoxins were emphasized. Disease prevention, reduction of pollution, ecosystem protection and education for the general public were the major concerns of this meeting. International collaborative studies in all fieldsof environmental sciences were encouraged.