City Dwellers in Asia Face Rising Tide of Pollution-Related Illnesses

Residents of urban areas throughout Asia will suffer from a broad range of serious health problems unless environmental conditions improve in a hurry, according to the World Health Organization. About 1.5 million Asians die every year from diseases related to air pollution, and many more succumb to sickness caused by water pollution. The brunt of the problem is borne by the poor, who are more vulnerable to environmental health hazards because they lack adequate housing, sanitation, and medical care. Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, called for a grassroots effort to protect human and environmental health throughout the region: “There is no longer a need to wait for the central government to take action. People and their leaders can take on tasks on their own.”