Media Release: New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine
Sustainability core to the health of people
Nearly a quarter of all deaths each year around the world could
be prevented by healthier environments.
Humans rely on safe water and food, clean air, safe shelter and
a stable climate to be healthy. If the world doesn't transition to
a sustainable development pathway, the number of global deaths from
environmental factors is likely to rise, says the NZ College of
Public Health Medicine.
The College has developed a sustainability policy affirming that
a healthy environment is a key foundation for the health and
wellbeing of people.
College president elect Dr Felicity Dumble, says environmental
sustainability is core to population health.
Dr Dumble says the College will take a leading role in fostering
a culture of environmental sustainability.
Similarly, it will encourage other organisations throughout the
health and other sectors to follow suit, she says.
"Continued damage to our ecosystem compromises our access to
fundamental pre-requisites for human health and survival, like safe
water, clean air, safe food and shelter."
"The central idea of sustainability - not using too much and
doing more with less - not only helps to protect the environmental
determinants of health, but also aligns with health sector goals to
improve efficiency, and to reduce health care costs."
The health sector has a large part to play in sustainability, as
its energy use, transport, waste, and use of resources
significantly impact the environment.
Estimates show that about three to eight per cent (3-8%) of a
developed country's greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the
health sector. The World Health Organization reported in 2016 that
environmental factors underpin 23 per cent of global deaths and 26
per cent of deaths among children under five annually.
It also stated that environmental factors underpin 22 per cent
of the world's disease burden in terms of years of healthy life
The College is encouraging its members and other organisations
to challenge unsustainable practices, to push for sustainable
development in New Zealand, and to champion sustainable health
For more information, contact theNew Zealand College of Public
Health Medicine spokesperson Dr Hayley Bennett on 021 800 418.
For a copy of the New Zealand College of Public
Health Medicine's Sustainability Policy Statement,