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Pollution Is High Cause Of Global Pre-Mature Deaths – Report

The Global Burden Disease (GBD) as cited by the Lancet Commission Report research has shown that pollution-related disease was responsible for pre-mature deaths of nine million people worldwide in 2015.

This represents 16 percent of total global mortality.

It also estimated that diseases caused by all forms of pollution were responsible for 268 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years: 254 million years lost through premature deaths and 14 million years lived with disability caused by pollution.

Mr Fakhruddin Azizi, Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), who shared the report, said the study also found that the burden of pollution falls disproportionately on the poor.

He disclosed this at a Health and Pollution Action Plans (HPAP) Inception workshop in Accra.

Experts in pollutions were brought together to help minimise their health impacts. Participants will identify forms of pollution, their health effects as well as cause government to decide the most pressing ones and take specific actions to resolve them.

About 92 percent of all pollution-related mortality is seen in low and middle income countries and in the most severely affected countries, pollution is responsible for more than one in every four deaths, he added.

Concerns about the toll that pollution was exacting on developing countries informed the drafting of the SDGs where a lot of its targets are to respond to these concerns, he said.

He cited target three of goal six (improve water quality by reducing pollution), target nine of goal three (reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, air, and water and soil pollution), target four of goal 12 (achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle).

Mr Azizi said, realising that little was known about the extent soil contamination, the European Union Funding, UNIDO five years ago, begun implementing a global project which was already picking up concerns about the impact of soil contamination.

The Projects aims were to identify sites in low and middle countries which were heavily contaminated by heavy metals as well as other chemicals and the Blacksmith Institute now Earth Pure, an NGO was executing it.

Mr Azizi explained that in response to the SGDs target, its upgraded second phase supported by the Lancet report aims at helping five pilot countries, including Ghana, to develop health and pollution Action Plans (HPAPs) to address in, outdoor pollutions, and exposure to chemical in the workplace, water and soil contaminations.

Mr Edward Clarence-Smith, Senior Consultant on Health, UNIDO, said one-third of cardiovascular diseases in Ghana could be linked to pollution.

He revealed that deaths caused by chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and Neoplasms in Ghana as a result of pollution were 45, 35 and about five percent, respectively.

Source: GNA

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