Nairobi, KENYA:The United Nations UN has advised its member states to pass laws that conserve the environment as a means of preventing deaths that occur as a result of pollution.
This is according to a new report titled Healthy Environment, Healthy People; published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organization (WHO) amongst other stakeholders.
A recently released report by the United Nations Environment Assembly UNEA has revealed that environmental degradation and pollution is estimated to cause up to 234 times as many premature deaths as caused by conflicts annually.
The report finds that in 2012, an estimated 12.6 million deaths were attributed to deteriorating environment conditions.
‘It is up to us ministers of environment globally to consult and put across an agenda to use budgets and means at our disposal to make public policies to improve lives of our people,’ said UNEA President Edgar Gutierrez in the report.
The Global Affairs and Policy Office of International Affairs has reiterated that air pollution is very serious and is a cause of major respiratory diseases.
“Air pollution causes 7 million deaths annually and it is the 8th leading cause of deaths. Of these, 4.3 million are down to household air pollution, particularly among women and young children in developing countries,” said Walker Smith the Director Global Affairs and Policy Office of International Affairs.
Deaths related to non-communicable diseases are said to be rising in all regions: three quarters of people who died from non-communicable diseases in 2012 lived in low and middle income countries.
The report also points to drivers of the environmental health-related impacts – including ecosystem disruption, climate change, inequality, unplanned urbanization, unhealthy and wasteful lifestyles and unsustainable consumption and production patterns – and outlines the massive health and economic benefits that action would bring.
Climate change is exacerbating the scale and intensity of environment-related health risks. Estimates from the WHO indicate that 250,000 additional deaths could occur each year between 2030 and 2050, mostly from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress, as a result of climate change.
Kenya is currently hosting UNEA from May 23rd to May 27th.
Leaders from 193 nations and over 2,000 participants among them top scientists and environment experts from around the globe, ministers of environment,health and finance led by Costa Rica Minister for Environment Edgar Gutierrez who is also the UNEA President are also present.