Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Walking in a polluted environment in London: New research on the perils of pollution on bad hearts and lungs;

Respiratory and cardiovascular responses to walking down a traffic-polluted road compared with walking in a traffic-free area in participants aged 60 years and older with chronic lung or heart disease and age-matched healthy controls: a randomised, crossover study

Sinharay, Rudy et al.
The Lancet , Volume 391 , Issue 10118 , 339 – 349
“….a 2 h walk either along a commercial street in London (Oxford Street) or in an urban park (Hyde Park).….”
“…Interpretation:  Short-term exposure to traffic pollution prevents the beneficial cardiopulmonary effects of walking in people with COPD, ischaemic heart disease, and those free from chronic cardiopulmonary diseases….”

An oil spill from an Iranian tanker that sank in the East China Sea is rapidly spreading (two huge slicks covering 52 square miles)

NY Times


UN Environment and WHO agree to major collaboration on environmental health risks

UN/WHO

10 Jan 2018
UN Environment and World Health Organization agree to major collaboration on environmental health risks

10 January 2018 / Nairobi–UN Environment and the World Health Organization have agreed a new, wide-ranging collaboration to accelerate action to curb environmental health risks that cause an estimated 12.6 million deaths a year.

Today in Nairobi, Mr. Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, signed an agreement to step up joint actions to combat air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance, as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues. The collaboration also includes joint management of the BreatheLife advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.

Although the two agencies cooperate in a range of areas, this represents the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the spectrum of environment and health issues in over 15 years.

“There is an urgent need for our two agencies to work more closely together to address the critical threats to environmental sustainability and climate – which are the foundations for life on this planet.  This new agreement recognizes that sober reality,” said UN Environment’s Solheim.

“Our health is directly related to the health of the environment we live in. Together, air, water and chemical hazards kill some 12.6 million people a year. This cannot and must not continue,” said WHO’s Tedros.

He added: “Most of these deaths occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America where environmental pollution takes its biggest health toll.”

The new collaboration creates a more systematic framework for joint research, development of tools and guidance, capacity building, monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals, global and regional partnerships, and support to regional health and environment fora.

The two agencies will develop a joint work programme and hold an annual high-level meeting to evaluate progress and make recommendations for continued collaboration.

The WHO-UN Environment collaboration follows a Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change calling for the creation of a global “Health, Environment and Climate Change” Coalition, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016.

Just last month, under the overarching topic “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which convenes environment ministers worldwide, adopted a resolution on Environment and Health, called for expanded partnerships with relevant UN agencies and partners, and for an implementation plan to tackle pollution.

Note to Editors 

Priority areas of cooperation between WHO and UN Environment include:

  • Air Quality – More effective air quality monitoring including guidance to countries on standard operating procedures; more accurate environment and health assessments, including economic assessment; and advocacy, including the BreatheLife campaign promoting air pollution reductions for climate and health benefits.
  • Climate – Tackling vector-borne disease and other climate-related health risks, including through improved assessment of health benefits from climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • Water – Ensuring effective monitoring of data on water quality, including through data sharing and collaborative analysis of pollution risks to health.
  • Waste and chemicals – Promotion of more sustainable waste and chemicals management, particularly in the area of pesticides, fertilizers, use of antimicrobials. The collaboration aims to advance the goal of sound lifecycle chemicals management by 2020, a target set out at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Ongoing WHO/UN Environment collaboration includes:

  • Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change –WHO/UN Environment announcement at COP22  – http://www.who.int/globalchange/mediacentre/events/Ministerial-declaration-EN.pdf
  • BreatheLife campaign has engaged countries, regions and cities in commitments to reduce air pollution for climate and health benefits, covering more than 120 million people across the planet, including Santiago, Chile; London, England; Washington DC, USA, and Oslo, Norway, with major cities in Asia and Africa set to join. www.breathelife2030.org
  • Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) – which has included effective past actions to phase out lead paint, mercury emissions and persistent organic pollutants. http://www.saicm.org/

Media contacts

UN Environment News & Media, unepnewsdesk@unep.org, +254 715 618 081

Sarah Cumberland, Communications officer, WHO, cumberlands@who.int, +41 79 206 1403

Related Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 3

Good Health and Well-Being
+

Goal 7

Affordable and Clean Energy
+

Goal 11

Sustainable Cities and Communities
+

Goal 12

Sustainable Consumption and Production
+

Goal 13

Climate Action
+

After the hurricanes: Inside a Senior Complex in Puerto Rico

NY Times

“…..With large areas of Puerto Rico still in the dark three months after the first of the storms — according to government reports, only 60.4 percent of the pre-storm power grid load has been restored — older residents and those with chronic medical conditions are suffering in even more ways than their neighbors. Many nursing homes have no power. The failure to re-establish functioning telephone networks and transportation systems in many areas makes it difficult to get regular medical care. Fire safety systems are inoperable, posing special dangers for those who cannot easily escape.….”


About 5,000 barrels of oil, or about 210,000 gallons, gushed out of the Keystone Pipeline on Thursday in South Dakota

NY Times

 


Triage at a sweltering nursing home……

NY Times

“…..After a third rescue call, around 5 a.m., the hospital’s staff was concerned enough to walk down the street to check the building themselves.

What they found was an oven.

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills needed to be evacuated immediately. Rescue units were hurrying its more than 100 residents out. Dozens of hospital workers established a command center outside, giving red wristbands to patients with critical, life-threatening conditions and yellow and green ones to those in better shape.

Checking the nursing home room by room, the hospital staff found three people who were already dead and nearly 40 others who needed red wristbands, many of whom had trouble breathing. The workers rushed them to Memorial’s emergency room, where they were given oxygen. The rest went to other hospitals nearby….”


Irma turned the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills into a living hell. Was it a tragic error or was it criminal?

Miami Herald

Bobby Owens, 84;

Manuel Mario Mendieta, 96;

Miguel Antonio Franco, 92;

Estella Hendricks, 71;

Gail Nova, 71;

Carolyn Eatherly, 78;

Betty Hibbard, 84;

Albertina Vega, 99.

“…..yet to be determined is how long these vulnerable people — either residents or recovering from surgery — were left in such stifling heat and, most important, why…..

The eight nursing-home residents who died were not the only seniors trapped by sketchy planning. In Miami Dade, WLRN reporter Nadege Green found elderly residents in a series of Coconut Grove senior-living apartments who remained trapped, no elevator, no electricity; on Tuesday, about 50 residents of a senior-citizens tower in Miami’s Civic Center neighborhood damaged by Irma were being taken to a shelter…..”

 


8/21/1986: An eruption of lethal gas from Lake Nyos in Cameroon kills nearly 2,000 people and wipes out four villages.

History Channel

 


8/24/2003: A major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET, 21 power plants shut down in just three minutes. Fifty million people were affected, including residents of New York, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and Ottawa, Canada.

History Channel

 


Electricity was restored Sunday to tens of thousands of customers (affected 140,000 customers at its worst) who lost service when a power station in suburban Los Angeles caught fire amid a blistering heat wave.

ABC

 


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