Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thousands killed by air pollution yearly: study

Thousands killed by air pollution yearly: study

A man walks past a factory’s smoke stack in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district late last year.
A man walks past a factory’s smoke stack in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district late last year. Pha Lina

Thousands killed by air pollution yearly: study

A new study by the World Health Organization has found 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with nearly 90 percent of those deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries like Cambodia.

The WHO said Southeast Asia bears one of the heaviest burdens with 799,000 deaths – 7,000 in Cambodia alone – in 2012 linked to air pollution. The body noted that Cambodia’s rate of 32 deaths per 100,000 people each year was similar to the rates in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

Sopha Chum, the executive director of the Health and Development Alliance, said that the Cambodian government was not ready to respond to air pollution.

“It’s time for the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health to start raising awareness to key political leaders to understand the risks and prepare action to reduce the risks,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann referred questions to Dr Prak Piseth Raingsey, director of preventive medicine at the ministry. However Raingsey did not respond to requests for comment.

The WHO study noted that major sources of pollution include inefficient modes of transportation, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants and industrial activity.

Minister of Environment Say Sam Al said his ministry had taken action to help minimise the impact of air pollution, including monitoring factory emissions and encouraging households that burn charcoal to use alternative fuel sources.

He said the ministry was also in the early stages of studying banning the importing of old cars, with officials working on defining what vehicles would fall into that category.

He said traffic congestion in Phnom Penh was also a contributory factor.

“At the moment, we are also looking at ways to ease congestion,” Sam Al said, adding that he believed those measures did make a difference in reducing air pollution and, as a result, the health risks associated.

The WHO study found that 94 percent of the 3 million annual deaths were due to non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the