Today is World Health Day and helping families lead healthy lives is front of mind. ClimateCare’s Stella Bell explains how the environment impacts our health and how clean cookstoves provide an immediate opportunity to save lives and tackle climate change.
Last year saw the release of the much referenced Lancet report Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health. Published prior to COP 21 in Paris, the report considered the impacts of climate change on public health and estimates that cutting carbon emissions could reduce 500,000 premature deaths a year from air pollution by 2030. The report concludes that taking action to tackle climate change presents the greatest global opportunity to improve people’s health in the 21st Century.
Then, last month, the World Health Organisation published its second report into “Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks”. A decade on from the original study, this report attributes 12.6 million deaths every year to the fact that people are living and working in unhealthy environments. It also estimates that 8.2 million of these deaths are attributable to Air Pollution – making this the single greatest environmental health risk on earth.
“There’s an urgent need for investment in strategies to reduce environmental risks in our cities, homes and workplaces”, says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “Such investments can significantly reduce the rising worldwide burden of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, injuries, and cancers, and lead to immediate savings in healthcare costs.”
The UN’s Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves highlight that nearly half these deaths are due to cooking with solid fuels. Cooking on inefficient stoves that burn charcoal, wood or kerosene, releases toxic substances and is recognised as one of the most important environmental risk factors for ill health in developing countries, leading to 4 million deaths and 110 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) world-wide every year.
At ClimateCare we see the immediate impact that simple solutions such as the provision of clean cookers, safe water filters and solar lighting can have for families, by reducing Indoor Air Pollution. To date we have provided 2 million families with cleaner, safer methods of cooking that reduce toxic fumes and save them on average $68 every year on fuel bills. These more efficient stoves also reduce demand for wood and charcoal – protecting precious forests – and cut millions of tonnes of CO2, helping to tackle climate change.
ClimateCare is currently carrying out an Indoor Air Quality and Black Carbon Study for DFID to look in more detail at the health impacts associated with use of clean cooking solutions and we hope to be able to share the results later this year.
There are opportunities for everyone to support the provision of clean cookstoves – whether you offset carbon emissions through our online calculator, or fund a whole new project – you can make a difference to someone’s life today.
Check out and share this new infographic, designed to explain why Cooking Shouldn’t Kill and what you can do about it.
Stella helps our clients to manage their environmental impacts, advising on actions to measure, report and reduce. She devises and oversees Climate+Care programmes to cut carbon and improve lives, ensuring these deliver against our clients targets.
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