In the last decade, a number of quantitative epidemiological studies of specific diseases have been done in developing countries that for the first time allow estimation of the total burden of disease (mortality and morbidity) attributable to use of solid fuels in adult women and young children, who jointly receive the highest exposures because of their household roles. Few such studies are available as yet for adult men or children over 5 years.
A critical review was conducted of the quantitative literature linking indoor air pollution from household use of biomass fuels with acute respiratory infections in young children, which is focused on, but not confined to, acute lower respiratory infection and pneumonia in children under two years in less developed countries. Biomass in the form of wood, crop residues, and animal dung is used in more than two fifths of the world’s households as the principal fuel.
Around 50% of people, almost all in developing countries, rely on coal and biomass in the form of wood, dung and crop residues for domestic energy. These materials are typically burnt in simple stoves with very incomplete combustion. Consequently, women and young children are exposed to high levels of indoor air pollution every day.
A new generation of antibiotics, new treatments for thinning bone disease and kidney failure, and new cancer treatments may all stand to be lost unless the world acts to reverse the present alarming rate of biodiversity loss a new landmark book says.
The new book, ‘Sustaining Life,’ is the most comprehensive treatment of this subject to date and fills a major gap in the arguments made to conserve nature.
African health and environment ministers have agreed to form an alliance to reduce environmental threats to human health and well-being.
According to the Libreville Declaration, named after the Gabonese capital, where a four-day conference was held, the ministers committed governments in the region to take measures to stimulate the necessary policy, investment and institutional changes so that synergies between health, environment and other fields are maximized.
China is a country of contradictions. Its 27 years of economic boom have brought 400 million people out of poverty and created large urban centers bustling with trade. Many Chinese urbanites live in very comfortable conditions. Yet, in much the countryside, poverty rates of rural citizens remain high, for farmers are increasingly losing out in China’s economic reforms. According to an October 2006 Gallup WorldPoll, between 2004 and 2006 the incomes of urban dwellers rose by an average of 4,000 Yuan while rural residents saw an increase of only 3,300 Yuan.
More than 15,000 children die in Ghana annually of sanitation related diseases before attaining the age of five, a United Nations Human Development report has revealed.
The diseases include malaria, diarrhea, typhoid and cholera.
Mr Kweku Quansah, Programme Officer at the Environmental Health Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment disclosed this in Kumasi at the weekend.
People who live in poverty are those exposed to the worst environmental and health risks. Overall, somewhere between 25% and 33% of the global burden of disease can be attributed to environmental factors. This proportion is larger in conditions of poverty, where more environmental hazards are present in the nearby living and working environment, and people have less capacity to protect themselves against exposure and effects of harmful or unpleasant pollutants.
This document gives an overview of the health impacts of indoor air pollution from solid fuel use and describes solutions to promote health and development in the context of the household energy challenge. Innovative policy approaches and a rigorous acceleration of investments is needed now to save lives and enable development.
The publication concludes with the following key points:
Linking human health and environment issues is a way of grounding the environmental agenda in people’s everyday lives and priorities.
This document is a fact sheet on several SEI projects that specifically address health effects of environmental problems, as well as the complex interrelationships between health, environment, well-being and sustainability.