WHD: 99% of people breathe unhealthy air -WHO

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…calls for  accelerated action to protect human health

By Linda Violet Musa

In commemoration of the 2022 World Health Day (WHD), the World health Organization (WHO) has said 99 percent of people breathe unhealthy air resulting mainly from burning of fossil fuels.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who made this known in a message on Thursday to mark the global annual event, called for accelerated action by both leaders and the people to preserve and protect the health, mitigate the climate crisis.

He said: “A heating world is seeing mosquitoes spread diseases further and faster than ever before. Extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, land degradation and water scarcity are displacing people and affecting their health. Pollution and plastics are found at the bottom of our deepest oceans, the highest mountains, and have made their way into our food chain and blood stream. 

“Systems that produce highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages are driving a wave of obesity, increasing cancer and heart disease while generating up to one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. This health and social crisis is compromising people’s ability to take control over their health and lives.

“The climate crisis is a health crisis: the same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people. We need transformative solutions to wean the world off its addiction to fossil fuels, to reimagine economies and societies focused on well-being, and to safeguard the health of the planet on which human health depends.

”At a time of heightened conflict and fragility, on its founding day, the Organization seeks a re-imagining and re-prioritization of resources to usher in sustainable, well-being societies. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fault lines of inequity across the world, underlining the urgency for creating sustainable, well-being societies which do not breach ecological limits and which ensure that all people have access to life-saving and life-enhancing tools, systems, policies and environments.”

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