Health and Pollution

ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION IS A KILLER

“The Lancet Commission on pollution and health published its landmark report that highlighted the impact that environmental pollution has on death and disease and the related need to scale up political will if we are to effectively confront this issue” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

The report, published on 19 October 2017 and supported by the European Union, UNIDO and Pure Earth, linked environmental pollution with health risks and the burden of disease caused by pollution.  It estimated that air, water and soil pollution were responsible for 9 million pre-mature deaths, equivalent to 16% of deaths worldwide and three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined in 2015. The overwhelming majority (92%) of the global burden of disease from pollution affects the poor and the vulnerable in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC).

Global changes of consumption and production have encouraged the growth of developing country economies without adequate pollution control and the capacity to manage negative impacts on health and the environment. The extraction and processing of resources, production, distribution, use and unsafe waste management practices cause ambient air, water, soil pollution through emissions of particulate matter, chemicals and other pollutants.

Health and Pollution Action Plans (HPAP) developed with assistance from UNIDO in Colombia, Ghana, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines and Tanzania brought high-level representatives and experts from Ministries of Environment, Health, Industry, Labor, Economy and Planning, and Environmental Protection Agencies together with UNIDO, WHO, UNICEF, World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, National Cleaner Production Centers, private sector and NGOs. They prioritized environmental pollution challenges based on their health impacts and prepared 18 project proposals (available for any interested partner for discussions with the relevant governments) for immediate to medium term implementation and funding at https://www.unido.org/our-focus-safeguarding-environment-resource-efficient-and-low-carbon-industrial-production/health-and-pollution.

The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health recommended the implementation of circular economy practices to stem and eventually prevent pollution and the tremendous loss of life associated with it.

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