Manila, Philippines – Health experts on Wednesday, July 25, urged the government to develop a plan for improving air quality as the country had the 3rd highest number of deaths due to air pollution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
A WHO study released in May 2018 said there were about 45.3 deaths per 100,0000 individuals due to outdoor air pollution. China ranked first at 81.5 deaths recorded while Mongolia was second at 48.8 deaths
In a statement, Dr. Roger Dazo, outgoing CAMANAVA Governor of the Philippine Medical Association said, “45.3 deaths per 100,000 Filipinos due to air pollution is 45.3 Filipinos too many. We can’t afford to lose our countrymen to preventable health problems it brings like heart disease and stroke.”
According to WHO, of the 7 million deaths related to air pollution, 2.2 million were caused by heart disease or stroke.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and pneumonia were other leading causes.
“Air pollution is not just an environmental problem—it is a health menace too,” said Health Care Without Harm Executive Direct Ramon San Pascual.
To address the situation, experts said the government and the public should look to using renewable energy sources instead of coal and fossil fuels.
Outdoor air pollution was mainly caused by “inefficient energy use in households, industries, the agriculture and transport sectors, as well as coal-fired power plants,” WHO said.
Former Department of Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said efforts should be focused on addresing root causes of health problems in order to prevent deaths.
“It is time we embrace the adage of putting a premium on prevention of disease over cure… We address air pollution, we address these diseases,” she said.