The government approved today – a national action plan to examine environmental impact on public health
The government had approved today the proposal of the Minister of Environmental Protection and the Minister of Health for a national action plan to examine the links between public health and environmental hazards.
The plan will include identification, evaluation, prevention and reduction of environmental hazards that impact health. The new plan embarked following the national action plan to reduce air pollution in Haifa Bay, which emphasized the need for a broad, national wide plan to examine the links between health and the environment.
The Ministry of Health estimates that more than 1,600 people in Israel die early death every year due to air pollution.
Minister of Health, Yaakov Litzman: "The State assumes responsibility for the environmental impact on our health. The national plan, under a join responsibility of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Health, includes all components of preparation, testing and preventative measures to ensure public health and to prevent possible environmental impact of air pollution. I am confident that thanks to the close cooperation between the ministries, we will be able to protect the public and prevent environmental illness. "
Minister of Environmental Protection, Avi Gabbay: "Reducing air pollution is our most important task and the plan will allow us to focus and prioritize environmental activities in accordance with their health risks."
The national action plan approved today includes a thorough analysis of all the environmental factors impacting human health, including: air emissions from industry and transport, quality of drinking water and food, exposure to chemicals, including pesticides and harmful chemicals, exposure to different types of radiation, the use of consumer products as well as and living conditions and work environment. According to existing scientific data, the impact of environmental hazards on human health is significant, and the Ministry of Health’s data indicates that over 1,600 Israelis die early death each year due to air pollution. Significant progress has been made in recent decades in reducing environmental hazards in Israel, when the various considerations taken into account concerning treating hazards include, among other things, health considerations. However, treatment of environmental hazards and reducing their negative impact on health is made specifically in relation to each pollutant separately, without consideration for the link between such hazards and public health. Therefore, there is no comprehensive information on various aspects such as the effect of chronic exposure to pollutants at various levels, the combined effect of a range of pollutants, as well as the impact on risk groups which are especially sensitive to environmental hazards such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. The purpose of the proposal is to change the situation of a lack of comprehensive view regarding the link between environmental hazards and public health concerns, through the establishment of an inter-ministerial work group to formulate a national plan including the identification, evaluation, prevention and reduction of environmental hazards that adversely impact or likely to impact health, which will then pass it for government approval following the approval of the Minister of Environmental Protection and the Minister of Health. As part of the Plan, the ministries will compile data about the impact of environmental hazards on public health, identify and implement mechanisms to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by exposure to environmental hazards, identify new environmental threats, examine the economic aspects of pollution reduction in regard of health and environment, and make the information regarding environmental exposures potentially impacting health available to the public.