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Environment and health
Salinity problems are present in most aquifers in the coastal areas. Generally, the salinity levels increase with the distance from the recharge area (the foothills of the eastern escarpment) and seawater intrusion has reportedly been observed up to about 20 km inland. Several saline geothermal springs are present along the eastern escarpment. Salinity is also common in the northwestern lowlands.
Fluoride concentrations exceeding international limits have been found mainly in the Anseba region and are probably related to the presence of certain rock types.
Bacteriological contamination is very common as many water points are not protected or are not at a sufficient distance from sources of pollution. Between 40 and 90 percent of the water sources analysed during the Rural Water Point National Inventory have been found to be biologically contaminated in the various regions.
Pollution problems are basically related to municipal sewage. A large part of the groundwater in the Asmara area has a very high nitrate content, which is due to the effects of the many latrines located in the town. Industrial pollution as well as irrigation-related pollution is not yet a problem because of the limited activities of the two sectors.
Malaria incidence and prevalence are increasing. Malaria affects about 67 percent of the population and forms about 30 percent of total outpatient morbidity. It is the major cause of morbidity and mortality of women and children. P.falciparum is the cause of 94 percent of all cases of malaria.