© WHO / Diego Rodriguez
                                Safe and sufficient drinking-water, along with adequate sanitation and hygiene have implications across all sustainable development goals from eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating infectious diseases, to ensuring environmental sustainability.
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                                Environmental health

                                  Overview

                                  Healthier environments could prevent almost one quarter of the global burden of disease. The COVID-19 pandemic is a further reminder of the delicate relationship between people and our planet.

                                  Clean air, stable climate, adequate water, sanitation and hygiene, safe use of chemicals, protection from radiation, healthy and safe workplaces, sound agricultural practices, health-supportive cities and built environments, and a preserved nature are all prerequisites for good health.

                                  Impact

                                  13.7 million of deaths per year in 2016, amounting to 24% of the global deaths, are due to modifiable environmental risks. This means that almost 1 in 4 of total global deaths are linked to environment conditions. 

                                  Disease agents and exposure pathways are numerous and unhealthy environmental conditions are common, with the result that most disease and injury categories are being impacted. Noncommunicable diseases, including ischaemic heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers are the most frequent disease outcomes caused.  Injuries, respiratory infections and stroke follow closely.

                                  WHO response

                                  Our activities to advance the global agenda for building healthier environments for healthier populations include:

                                  1. providing leadership on guiding important transitions such as in energy and transport, and stimulating good governance in health and environment;
                                  2. ensuring knowledge generation and dissemination for evidence-based norms and efficient solutions, steering research and monitoring change in risks to health and implementation of solutions;
                                  3. supporting capacity building and mechanisms for scaling up action in countries, and
                                  4. building capacity for emergency preparedness and response in case of environment-related incidents, and provide related guidance on environmental health services and occupational health and safety.

                                  24% of

                                  all global deaths

                                  are linked to the environment, which is roughly 13.7 million deaths a year.

                                  Publication

                                  Commentary highlight

                                  Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health

                                  Twitter @DrMariaNeira

                                  Our strategy

                                  Compendium of WHO and other UN guidance on health and environment

                                  Publications

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                                  Nickel in drinking-water

                                  Since the first edition of the GDWQ, WHO has published information on health criteria and other information to support the GDWQ, describing the approaches...

                                  Asbestos in drinking-water

                                  Since the first edition of the GDWQ, WHO has published information on health criteria and other information to support the GDWQ, describing the approaches...

                                  Manganese in drinking-water

                                  Since the first edition of the GDWQ, WHO has published information on health criteria and other information to support the GDWQ, describing the approaches...

                                  Silver in drinking-water

                                  Since the first edition of the GDWQ, WHO has published information on health criteria and other information to support the GDWQ, describing the approaches...

                                  Multimedia highlights

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