AS the globe marks the World Health Day, urgent action is needed to keep humans and the planet healthy, says the World Health Organisation (WHO), a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for international public health.
April 19, 2022
2 min read
13 million people die annually due to climate change – WHO
WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
- COVID-19 puts medical science to the test
- WHO says over 90 percent of people breath unhealthy air
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The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths globally each year are due to avoidable environmental causes including climate change and air pollution.
“Our political, social and commercial decisions are driving the climate and health crisis,” the WHO said in a statement to mark this year’s theme: Our planet, our health.
Also, WHO said over 90 percent of people breathed unhealthy air resulting from burning of fossil fuels, where a heating world was seeing mosquitos spread diseases farther and faster than ever.
“Extreme weather events, land degradation and water scarcity are displacing people and affecting their health,” WHO Secretary General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement.
He said pollution and plastics found at the bottom of deepest oceans and the highest mountains had made their way into the food chain.
As systems that produce highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages were driving a wave of obesity, increasing cancer and heart disease, they generated a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has the tested the world for its science’s healing prowess, WHO said it also highlighted the inequalities in the world, revealing weaknesses in all areas of society.
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“It has also underlined the urgency of creating sustainable well-being societies committed to achieving equitable health now and for the future generations without breaching ecological limits,” WHO said.
Breaking these cycles of destruction for the planet and human health, WHO said it required legislative action, corporate reform and individuals to be supported and incentivised to make healthy choices.