Experts warn of disease-control challenges from climate change-Xinhua

Experts warn of disease-control challenges from climate change

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-18 20:23:30

NANNING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The past few years have witnessed increasing health risks triggered by climate and environmental change, experts said on Saturday during an international symposium in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Around 300 experts and government officials from home and abroad joined the first Symposium on Environment and General Health & Livable Health and Longevity, sharing views and opinions under the theme of "Jointly Improve Environment and Health for Green and Low-carbon Development".

Participants were of the view that the relationship between climate change, ecological environment, and disease prevention and control has become increasingly close, with increasing risks of cardiovascular diseases due to more frequent heatwaves, rising incidence of hypertension and heart diseases due to dust storms, and notably higher rates of respiratory system diseases due to air pollution.

"There is growing recognition of the connection between the health of people and health of our planet," said Makiko Yashiro, programme officer for Ecosystem Management Sub-programme at UN Environment's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, via a video. "Declines in nature have contributed significantly to the crossover of diseases from wildlife to people, or from wildlife to domesticated livestock. There is urgent need to scale up efforts to stop destroying nature, in order to prevent future pandemics like COVID-19."

Cai Wenjia, a professor from the Department of Earth System Science at Tsinghua University, said that climate change is directly or indirectly affecting public health through various pathways, and the threat continues to grow. "All sectors and industries need to work together on climate and health issues," she said.

Participants hailed the efforts that China has made on environmental protection and pollution control. "Based on the slogan of 'beautiful nature,' China has moved from somewhere of a backseat for international green development to becoming the world leader," said Erik Solheim, former under-secretary-general of the United Nations and executive director of the UN Environment Programme via a video.

Xiao Xuezhi, chief scientist with the Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center under China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said China has been promoting green alternatives by implementing a series of policies, laws and standards to reduce the emissions of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and has comprehensively phased out the use of 29 types of POPs.

He added that China will continue to fulfill the Stockholm Convention on POPs, strengthen the governance of new pollutants, accelerate the legislation on the management of toxic and hazardous chemicals, gradually establish a sound system for the governance of new pollutants, and further focus on tracking other potential toxic and harmful substances to prevent risks.