Containing environmental spread of antibiotic resistance needs greater focus, says CSE on World Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov 14-20 Nov)

Had organised international meet on the National Action Plans of Developing Countries on Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Antibiotics are increasingly becoming ineffective against disease-causing bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is a global public-health threat linked with misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals and its spread through environment  

  • Though environmental spread of antibiotic resistance is a big issue, it does not get adequate attention in global guidance as well as National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

  • Experts from several countries discussed and agreed upon the importance of containing environmental spread over the two-day International meet

New Delhi, November 14, 2016: As the World Antibiotic Awareness Week kicks off globally from today (November 14-20, 2016), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has brought down the curtains on its two-day international conference held here, on National Action Plans of Developing Countries on Antimicrobial Resistance. The World Antibiotic Awareness Week is aimed at increasing awareness on antibiotic resistance and encouraging best practices among the general public, health workers and policymakers to avoid spread of this resistance. CSE’s conference, a precursor to the Week, focused on putting forth a case for arresting the environmental spread of antibiotic resistance.

“While countries are in the process of making their National Action Plans, it is critical that environmental policymakers in developing countries are actively involved in this exercise, along with policymakers from the agriculture and health sectors. The global guidance also needs to adequately address environmental spread of antibiotic resistance,” said Sunita Narain, director general, CSE, talking at the conference.

Antibiotic resistance is globally recognised as a public health threat as antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective against disease-causing bacteria. A Global Action Plan on AMR has been developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and all countries are expected to submit their National Action Plans aligned with it by mid-2017 to the WHO. Besides misuse of antibiotics in humans, antibiotic resistance accelerates and spreads by misuse and overuse of antibiotics in rearing chickens for meat and egg, fish and other food animals. 

“Other than food, environmental spread of resistance is a big issue. It has been neglected so far, particularly in developing countries such as India. Countries need to reduce environmental entry of antibiotic residues and resistant bacteria by managing waste from livestock and aquaculture farms, slaughter houses and animal food processing units. Discharge effluents from the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in India, also need urgent attention to minimise antibiotic contamination of the environment,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.

During the conference, experts from several developed and developing countries and from the WHO, FAO and the OIE discussed and agreed upon the importance of containing environmental spread of AMR.  

“Besides focusing on biosecurity measures, countries must work towards developing necessary laws and standards on waste from farms and factories as well as institutionalise systems for environmental surveillance of resistance. This has to be an integral part of country-level action plans,” added Bhushan.


For more on this, contact Vrinda Nagar, CSE Media Resource Centre, at 9654106253