World Health Assembly adopted new resolution to address health impacts of air pollution and strengthen multi-sectoral cooperation, including transport

Delegates at the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to address the health impacts of air pollution – the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Every year 4.3 million deaths occur from exposure to indoor air pollution and 3.7 million deaths are attributable to outdoor air pollution. “This is a major landmark,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determi­nants of Health. “Member States have now pledged to tackle in a concerted way the largest single environmental health risk that we face today.”

The resolution calls on Member States to redouble their efforts to identify, address and prevent the health impacts of air pollution including enabling health systems and health authorities to play a leadership role in raising awareness about air pollu­tion’s impacts and the savings in lives and health care costs that can be realized through reducing pollution and pollution exposures. The resolution also called on member states to strengthen multi-sectoral cooperation, integrating health concerns into all national, regional and local air pollution-related policies. Countries also were urged to develop air quality monitoring systems and health registries to improve sur­veillance for all illnesses related to air pollution; promote clean cooking, heating and lighting technologies and fuels; and strengthen international transfer of expertise, technologies and scientific data in the field of air pollution.

”This resolution is a strong call to the health sector to play a lead role in tackling air pollution — a major cause today of heart disease, stroke and pneumonia as well as cancers,” said Dr Carlos Dora, WHO Coordinator, Department of Public Health, Envi­ronmental and Social Determinants of Health. “The resolution also commits WHO to scale up its work with member states to better identify the sources of air pollution, and the most effective mitigation measures that are good for health, development and climate.”

For more information, please see the 68th World Health Assembly website in here.