Avoidable Environmental Causes Kill 13m People Each Year -WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that more 13 million annual deaths globally were due to avoidable environmental causes, including the climate crisis.

WHO Deputy Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Alexander Chimbaru made the disclosure at a press briefing to commemorate the 2022 World Health Day in Abuja on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that the erratic power supply experienced in the country was the major cause of environmental pollution as most households and businesses depend on petrol/ diesel powered generators. Therefore, to effectively combat climate crises in the country, power must be fixed to reduce dependence on hydrocarbon combustion.

While delivering his keynote address, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora lamented that the current impact of various environmental crises such as climate change, avoidable pollution, food and waterborne diseases, emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, and extreme weather events on the planet’s and individuals’ health was increasingly difficult to ignore.

He added that the environmental crisis has led to worsening non-communicable diseases, enhancing an ecosystem where various infectious diseases foster, worsening air quality, food and water shortages, and deteriorating mental health illness.

To counter these, Mamora hinted that his Ministry would reflect on the need for strategic ideas and priorities, which should be worked on in more detail through increasing fossil fuels related tax as an incentive for carbon reduction, implementing the WHO air quality guidelines, prioritizing long term decision-making that stabilizes the welfare and security of Nigerians and their environment.

Similarly, the WHO Deputy Country Representative in Nigeria while noting the grave impact of climate change said:

“Climate change is manifesting in increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent and severe extreme weather conditions. WHO estimates that more than 13 million annual deaths globally are due to avoidable environmental causes, including the climate crisis.

“With direct consequences for the key determinants of health, climate change is negatively impacting air and water quality, food security, and human habitat and shelter. The knock-on effect for the burden of heart and lung disease, stroke and cancer, among others, is evident from statistics that point to NCDs representing a growing proportion of Africa’s disease burden”, he explained.

The solution, he said, was for Government, civil society, nongovernment organizations and communities to work together, empowering one another to ensure the continued delivery of essential health services during future extreme events, while containing the growing incidence of environment- and lifestyle-related diseases.

In his concluding words, Chimbaru stressed that: “We cannot afford to lose sight of the fundamental truth that the climate crisis, the single biggest threat facing humanity today, is also very much a health crisis.”

World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948.

The theme of 2022 World Health Day is, “Our planet, Our health”.

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