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Pollution kills, but we can fight back

June 16, 2016

The World Health Organization reports that nearly a quarter of all deaths in the world — about 12.6 million people a year — are caused by environmental problems such as poor sanitation and air pollution. These preventable and unnecessary deaths could be eliminated by global action to redirect resources to improve health and save lives.

Unfortunately, governments and international agencies have shown little commitment to remedying environmental hazards, especially those caused by corporations which claim to provide jobs and generate taxes, but often do neither.

While we organize against corruption and for environmental responsibility, we can also minimize risks to the health of our communities. Hesperian has just released several guides offering solutions to problems caused by pesticides, poor sanitation, and limited access to clean water. Taken from A Community Guide to Environmental Health, these stand-alone materials show how to build safe toilets, purify water and protect watersheds, and reduce harm from toxic chemicals.

Water for Life, available in English, Spanish, and French, explains why water is a right for all people, how to make it safe for drinking, and how to organize water projects to improve community health.

Pesticides are Poison, available in English and Spanish, offers detailed information about pesticides and alternatives, how to treat people poisoned by pesticides, and how to reduce harm caused by pesticides.

Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment, available in English, Spanish, and French, provides information on basic sanitation and hygiene, as well as learning activities to help communities understand and prevent sanitation-related health problems.

It may take a while to end the environmental pollution of our communities, but there are many things we can do to reduce harm now. These guides are full of ideas and methods to help people everywhere alleviate the health problems caused by pollution and toxic chemicals.