Strategy on Environmental Health on the Cards

ABU DHABI - A national strategy on environmental health is one of the top priorities of environment and health officials in the country.


Silvia Radan

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 18 Mar 2009, 12:57 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 8:29 PM

A draft set of recommendations meant to be completed in June this year is being put together by an environmental health committee, which includes the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the ministries of Environment and Health, several health authorities in the country, key representatives of major industries, national and international universities and Non Government Organisations.

At a four-day international conference on environmental health organised in Abu Dhabi by EAD and the World Health Organisation Regional Centre for Environmental Health Activities (WHO/CEHA), which started on Monday, around 100 scholars, experts and researchers are evaluating the urgency of prioritising environmental health.

“There is a strong link between environment and diseases, which constitutes an enormous burden on human resources and the national economy,” said Mohammed Al Bowardi, secretary general of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and managing director of EAD.

A recent World Health Organisation study on preventing disease through healthy environments revealed that 24 per cent of the global burden of diseases, of which one-third occur in developing countries, are caused by modifiable environmental risks.

These environmental risk factors, including air pollution, unsafe water and sanitation, improper solid and hazardous waste management and unhygienic food, are the cause of major diseases such as respiratory illness, diarrhea, malaria, unintentional injuries and even various cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Alarmingly, environmental factors now have an impact on 85 diseases out of 102 reported regularly by the WHO.

“Abu Dhabi government has launched an ambitious project to identify environmental risks and to determine their impact on health and economic development, and to propose policies, programmes and action plans through a national strategy on environmental health,” said Al Bowardi.

“It will review plans to expand the ambient air quality monitoring network and carry out an epidemiology study on the diseases, including effects of indoor air quality or the effects of current life styles,” said Bowardi. The solution, as Amir Johri, scientist at WHO/CEHA in Jordan, explained, is in safety and working together.

“Reducing the broad range of traditional, modern and emerging hazards to health and environment would create a safe and healthy environment,” he said.

“Placing environmental health interventions into practice as part of public health policy and preventive health strategies will underpin expansion of primary prevention,” said Johri.


More news from