The World Health Organisation (WHO), says it is working out strategies to better combat air pollution and its effect on health currently causing over seven million deaths globally annually.
The organisation stated on its website on Saturday that it would hold a conference on Air Pollution and Health in response to a World Health Assembly mandate to combat air pollution, one of the world’s most significant causes of premature deaths.
The UN body noted that at present, air pollution in most cities exceeded recommended WHO Air Quality levels, adding that household air pollution was a leading killer in poor rural and urban homes.
According to WHO, one-third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease is due to air pollution.
“Air pollution also causes one in nine deaths worldwide.
“Affordable strategies exist to reduce key pollution emissions from the transport, energy, agriculture, waste and housing sectors.
“Health-conscious strategies can reduce climate change and support Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health, energy and cities.
“Let’s act together because the cost is far too high; air pollution claims seven million lives every year, it is a major driver of the Non-communicable Disease (NCDs) epidemic and it accelerates climate change.
“The solution to air pollution, however, is affordable and clean urban, transport, waste and household energy strategies and the health, environment and development sectors can lead the way to change.’’
WHO said that it would hold the three days conference from October 30 to November 1 in Geneva, Switzerland with the theme “Improving Air Quality, Combating Climate Change – Saving Lives”.
It said that the conference would be held in collaboration with the UN Environment, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Other collaborating organisations are Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
WHO said that it hoped to push for a call to action by all participating organisations, governments and individuals with an agreement on a target to reduce the seven million deaths due to air pollution by 2030.
It said that the conference would underline the links between air pollution and the global epidemic on NCDs and position the health sector to catalyse actions for health-wise policies on clean household energies, transport and waste.
The UN body said that participants at the conference would include ministries of health and environment and other national government representatives including representatives of intergovernmental agencies.
Other participants, according to WHO are health professionals, and individuals from other sectors such as transport and energy as well as from research, academia and civil society.