World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


13 million deaths each year preventable - UN

Over 13 Million Deaths Each Year Due To Preventable Environmental Causes - Un Report

More than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes and the lives of as many as 4 million children alone, mostly in developing countries, could be saved by preventing such ecological risks, according to a new United Nations <"">report released today, the most comprehensive yet on the issue.

“We have always known that the environment influences health very profoundly, but these estimates are the best to date,” Acting UN World Health Organization (<"">WHO) Director-General Anders Nordström said in issuing the study, which shows that as much as 24 per cent of global disease, and 33 per cent of that in children under five, is caused by environmental exposures that can be averted.

The four main diseases influenced by poor environments are diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries, and malaria. Preventive measures include safe household water storage and better hygienic measures; cleaner and safer fuels; increased building safety, better management of toxic substances in the home and workplace; and better water resource management.

“This will help us to demonstrate that wise investment to create a supportive environment can be a successful strategy in improving health and achieving development that is sustainable,” Dr. Nordström said of the report - ‘Preventing disease through healthy environments - towards an estimate of the environmental burden of disease.’

By focusing on the environmental causes of disease, and how various diseases are influenced by environmental factors, the analysis breaks new ground, reflecting how much death, illness and disability could be realistically avoided every year as a result of better environmental management.

Nearly one third of death and disease in the least developed regions is due to environmental causes. Over 40 per cent of malaria deaths and an estimated 94 per cent of those from diarrhoeal diseases, two of the world’s biggest childhood killers, could be prevented through better environmental management.

“For the first time, this new report shows how specific diseases and injuries are influenced by environmental risks and by how much,” the Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health and Environment, Maria Neira said.

“It also shows very clearly the gains that would accrue both to public health and to the general environment by a series of straightforward, coordinated investments. We call on ministries of health, environment and other partners to work together to ensure that these environmental and public health gains become a reality.”

The research, involving systematic review of literature as well as surveys of over 100 experts worldwide, identifies specific diseases affected by well-known environmental hazards - and by how much. “In effect, we now have a 'hit list' for problems we need to tackle most urgently in terms of health and the environment," Dr. Neira said.

Diseases with the largest number of deaths annually from such causes: 2.6 million from cardiovascular diseases; 1.7 million deaths from diarrhoeal illness; 1.5 million from lower respiratory infections; 1.4 million from cancers; 1.3 million from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; 470,000 from traffic crashes; and 400,000 from unintentional injuries.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC