Findings Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health presented at UM Campus Brussels
Environmental pollution is responsible for an estimated nine million deaths worldwide each year. This makes soil, water and air pollution even deadlier than the world’s deadliest diseases. These were the findings in a report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, which was published last Thursday in a special edition of The Lancet. One of the commission members is UM professor Onno van Schayck (CAPHRI Care and Public Health Research Institute/Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences). A special press briefing on the Lancet report will be held on Thursday 26 October at the UM Campus in Brussels.
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UM organises this event in collaboration with The Lancet, the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission (EC), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) in Brussels. Thanks to this collaboration, the release event can be streamed live, making it available to EC staff and personnel of the UN Environment Programme, as well as officials at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in The Hague. What makes the Lancet report so interesting is that it not only presents alarming figures, it also offers practical solutions to address this global problem. One such solution has been developed by Maastricht University.
Professor Onno van Schayck was asked to join the Lancet Commission based on Project Exhale from the Health in the Slums programme he helped to spearhead. In India, many people who live in urban slums cook indoors on wood-burning stoves. This is extremely hazardous to health, particularly the health of women and children. In fact, it results in more than half a million deaths each year. Van Schayck and his project partners developed a low-smoke stove. The stove also fits the culture and customs of the people living in Indian slums. The Dutch and Indian governments invested in this joint project developed by UM, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Indian hospitals. The ultimate goal is to have the residents of urban slums build and market these stoves themselves. Professor Onno van Schayck will first examine the stove's health benefits compared to cooking with traditional stoves using firewood.
Earlier this year, correspondent Joeri Boom filmed in the urban slums of the Indian city of Bangalore for Dutch newscast NOS Journaal. Click here (9.09-12.09) to watch a clip of the episode from 3 August 2017.