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Public called to work together in ensuring sustainable living

Izah Azahari

The Ministry of Health called on the public to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in working together to ensure a more guaranteed sustainable life for the Sultanate’s people’s well-being, and for the global population.

This was said by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in a message in conjunction with World Health Day (WHD) yesterday.

Brunei Darussalam has an average clean air index, and residents have access to clean water and safe food, said the minister. Nonetheless, vulnerable groups have been impacted more severely due to COVID-19, as can be seen around the world, especially those living in areas with polluted air and lacking access to clean water and safe food. This not only affects health negatively, but also the economy and social stability of the society.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham shared that the WHD is celebrated around the globe every April 7 in commemoration of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) establishment in 1948.

At a time when the world is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of diseases such as cancer, asthma and heart diseases, the minister said WHO has called on nations to remain committed and not neglect their responsibilities in ensuring a clean environment to guarantee the health and well-being of the entire community.

“Each year, WHD is celebrated with different themes and used as a platform to draw the public’s attention to current global health issues,” said the minister. “This year, WHO has chosen the theme ‘Our Planet, Our Earth’, which aims to serve as a reminder that fresh air, clean water and safe food are essential to the health and well-being of the world’s population.

“WHO estimates that over 13 million deaths across the globe occurred each year due to environmental pollution, including climate change, the biggest threat faced by the world population at this time.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said much of the root cause of the climate change crisis is human activities, with over 90 per cent of air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

The increase in the earth’s surface temperature causes an increase in the reproduction of mosquitoes spreading vector borne diseases such as dengue and malaria quickly and widely.

The minister also noted that extreme weather conditions and overly rapid development can result in loss of life and communities losing their homes and sources of income.

“We have also seen that pollution is not only limited to the land surface, but also affecting marine life such as the widespread dumping of plastic,” said the minister.

He said there is a need to be jointly responsible in ensuring that the environment is always clean and free from pollution, as well as cultivating ‘health in all policies’, where every action and activity takes into account its impact on health and the earth.

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