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Environment and health

Most of the drinking water is provided by groundwater, which has high organoleptic properties and is very pure. Due to the poor state of the water supply networks, however, the risk of water contamination is high. Due to the lack of liquid and lime chlorine, and the electric power deficit, in most cases, water is supplied without chlorination. In many places sewage and drinking water supply networks are put together and at present the sewage system is in an emergency situation: 63 percent of the network is more than 20 years old and 22 percent requires immediate renewal. According to the data provided by the Ministry of Health, during 1984ľ1991, no infection outbreak episodes related to drinking water quality were recorded in Armenia. However, since 1992 such episodes have been periodically registered. During the 1999ľ2002 period, 18 outbreak episodes related to water pollution were recorded with the total number of 5 690 diseased persons (UNDP, 2005). In 2003, 21 839 incidents were recorded, 5 839 of which (26.7 percent) occurred in Yerevan.

Solonetzic soils, which are characterized by a tough, impermeable hardpan that may vary from 5 to 30 cm or more below the surface soils, are widespread. These soils are most of all exposed to the risk of irrigation-related salinization, mainly as a result of rising groundwater in the plains, where the majority of irrigated lands are located. In the Ararat plain, solonetzic soils cover about 10 percent of the area. In 2006, the part of the irrigated land that is salinized was 20 415 ha, of which 15 137 ha weakly salinized, 2 385 ha medium salinized, and 2 893 ha strongly salinized (MTA, 2007).

The malaria situation was stable in Armenia until 1994. In subsequent years, a downgrading of malaria prevention services and a weakening of the malaria surveillance system resulted in a steady increase in the number of malaria cases, reaching 1 156 by 1998. Over 98 percent of these cases were detected in the Masis district of the Ararat Valley, an area bordering Turkey. In recent years, owing to epidemic control interventions, the number of autochthonous malaria cases has continued to decrease, dropping to 8 in 2003. However, although numbers have been on the decline, the situation must be monitored closely, because of the existence of favourable conditions for malaria transmission. In 2003, Armenia redefined and adjusted the present malaria control strategy, objectives and approaches, bearing in mind the results achieved to date, the extent of the problem, and potential threats in the country (MTA, 2007).


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