24 Sep 2018 Press release Air

UN Environment and Boston College establish Global Pollution Observatory

  • UN Environment and Boston College established a new research partnership to focus on reducing sources of pollution that kill 9 million people each year.
  • Pollution is linked to a myriad of diseases, injuries, and risk factors, including asthma, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

New York, 24 September 2018 – To provide decision-makers and development practitioners with real data on the comparative magnitude of health loss arising from pollution, Boston College together with UN Environment established a new research partnership today, to focus on reducing sources of pollution that kill 9 million people each year – quantifying the environmental burden of disease, human capital and sustainable economy and establishing a “Global Pollution Observatory”.

"Air pollution is one of the biggest public health emergencies of our time,” Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said. “I welcome the partnership between UN Environment and Boston College in providing us high-quality, real-time data to tackle air pollution. Importantly, by providing us early warnings of air quality issues, we will have the science we need to chart a course for cleaner air for all.”

Led by public health expert Philip Landrigan, the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health will track efforts to control pollution and prevent pollution-related diseases that account for 16 percent of all premature deaths around the world.

“The Observatory is going to take on major issues at the intersection of pollution, human health and public policy,” said Landrigan. “We’ll study particular segments of the problem – how it affects particular countries, different populations, like children, or particular diseases, like cancer. Our reports will be disseminated broadly and aimed at the general public as well as policymakers. What we want to do is mobilize society to see pollution as a serious threat, change public policy, prevent pollution and, ultimately, save lives.”

Pollution is linked to a myriad of diseases, injuries, and risk factors, including asthma, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
By providing highly credible, carefully curated, information to leaders of governments and inform civil society and the media, cities and countries will be empowered to target pollution and save lives.

The framework agreement follows on the environmental and health resolutions reached in the Third United Nations Environment Assembly, which was held in December 2017. As a first milestone, the work is to estimate the loss in human capital and subsequently on the economy in India and China by June 2019.

NOTES TO EDITORS

About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. 

For more information, please contact:

Keith Weller, UN Environment, Head of News and Media, [email protected]