Urgent regional action needed to improve Asia-Pacific air quality: UN ESCAPListen /
There's an urgent call for countries across the Asia-Pacific region to prioritize critical issues of air quality and human health.
Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Dr. Noeleen Heyzer says in "efforts to build a more sustainable region we must ensure that preventing the pollution of our air, our water, our food, and other common regional goods, is given the highest possible priority. There is little point in investing in healthcare systems and ensuring access if, at the same time, the cost of our growth is the destruction of the most basic environmental resources on which human health depends."
Dr. Heyzer stressed that "one of the most serious and directly damaging issues of air pollution, especially in our rapidly urbanizing regions, is the concentration of particulates, which greatly increases the risk of heart and lung diseases and cancers."
She says "The ongoing problem of air pollution between Indonesia and Singapore is symptomatic of a much wider challenge for the countries of Asia and the Pacific", adding that "Cross-boundary pollution is politically complex, but it must be urgently addressed.
Calling on the governments of Asia-Pacific to do more, with greater urgency, to tackle issues of worsening air quality, Dr. Heyzer suggests that "The nexus of air, water, food, energy and land is not simply an environmental one. Rather, she says, this is where social, economic, and environmental concerns converge.
And she warns that the commitment to sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific will ultimately stand or fall on the response to these issues.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.