More than 13 million deaths attributed to environmental causes every year could be avoided with appropriate action to protect the environment, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said on Thursday.
In an address to mark World Health Day, celebrated on April 7 on the anniversary of the World Health Organisation in 1948, Minister focuses on environment and health on World Health Dayhighlighted the need to combat pollution is pursuit of public health.
Noting that this year’s theme for World Health Day is “our planet, our health”, Hadjipantelas noted that WHO had chosen – two years into the coronavirus pandemic — to focus on other potential threats that need to be addressed with concerted action.
WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths a year are attributed to environmental reasons and could be avoided.
“Environmental pollution through the air that we breathe and the water and food we consume affect our health, usually with medium and long-term unfavourable repercussions,” the minister said in his written statement.
According to the ‘one health’ approach, there is a link and interdependence between human health and the environment, and the need to focus on creating healthy societies in a healthy planet is becoming more evident, he added.
“The climate crisis is perhaps the biggest health threat facing humanity, with multiple negative repercussions on the health of many of our fellow human beings,” he said.
He appealed to every member of the public to promote a healthy way of life while protecting the environment.
“Our individual choices and our social behaviour affect our environment and our health.”
And he concluded: “Let us all once again imagine a world where clean air, healthy water and safe foodstuffs are available to all. I am sure this is the planet we want to bequeath to future generations.”