Report: Non-Communicable Deaths Increasing While Deaths from Infectious Diseases Decreasing
On March 15, 2016, the World Health Organization released a report indicating that "as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment" nearly one in four global deaths can be attributed to environmental risk factors. These risk factors include exposure to such things as polluted air (including secondhand smoke), water, soil, and chemicals, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation.
According to the report, they contribute to more than 100 types of diseases and injuries which result in the deaths of approximately eight million people annually.
The report, Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks, is the second report on these issues to be released by WHO. The first one was released a decade ago.
"These are non-communicable diseases (NCDs)," says Stephen Ashkin, known as the "father of green cleaning" and President of The Ashkin Group.
"We're talking about strokes, cancers, and chronic respiratory disease, which are directly connected or caused by [unhealthy] environmental factors."
At the other end of the spectrum, infectious diseases appear to be declining. WHO attributes this to increased access to safer water, improved sanitation, greater access to immunization programs, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and medicines.
Protecting the environment and keeping it healthy are the keys to reducing NCDs.
"A healthy environment underpins a healthy population," says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young."
Ashkin adds that the professional cleaning industry is now playing an active role in creating these "healthy environments" as well as helping to reduce the spread of infectious disease.
"Cleaning to protect health has been our industry's mantra for nearly 30 years. We have definitely made great progress in keeping facilities cleaner and healthier."
"And now that our industry has adopted more Green and sustainable practices, we are doing our part in keeping the global environment healthier as well. And I believe there is more we can and will do going forward."
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