New UN research partnership to battle big pollution with big data

It is working with Boston College to establish a ‘Global Pollution Observatory’

  • They will provide decisionmakers with data linking pollution with injuries and diseases such as asthma and cancer
  • Pollution-related diseases are said to account for 16% of all premature deaths around the world
  • The programme is expected to empower cities and countries to target pollution and save lives

The Big Zero report

A new UN research programme that aims to focus on reducing sources of pollution that kill nine million people every year has been launched.

UN Environment is collaborating with Boston College to establish a ‘Global Pollution Observatory’ to provide decisionmakers and development practitioners with real data linking pollution with injuries and diseases such as asthma and cancer.

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% of all premature deaths around the world.

By providing carefully curated information to policymakers and inform people and the media, the initiative hopes to empower cities and countries to target pollution and save lives.

Mr Landrigan said: “The Observatory is going to take on major issues at the intersection of pollution, human health and public policy. 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 mobilise society to see pollution as a serious threat, change public policy, prevent pollution and ultimately, save lives.”

The flagship study is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

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