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

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Delta spreading in Kingdom

    Cambodia has so far detected more than 200 cases of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant, with 109 found on July 31 and August 1. The Ministry of Health has expressed deep concerns that the variant may have already reached communities and be spreading as some of the cases

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (