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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: Pollution Kills Three Times More than HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB

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The United Nations under the leadership of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been highly effective in reducing health-related death for the poor around the world. WHO’s recent reports show great advances in primary health care, maternal care, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues.   But health doesn’t stop there.

Polluted air, water, soil and toxic chemicals combined kills three times the number of people than die of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. This means pollution is the number one killer in low-and middle - income countries. In fact, the number of deaths attributed to pollution is now over 10 million a year.

Families around the world suffer tragic losses from the lack of understanding of the scope of this problem. One mother, Seynabou Mbenque had ten children but lost five of them due to fatal illness brought on by toxic pollution. One by one, each of her five youngest children fell ill with the same symptoms – violent seizures and convulsions. One by one they perished the same way, each before the age of two. Seynbou lives in Nggne Diaw Senegal, where she and many others make their living by recycling used lead-acid batteries. After her fifth child died, she realized that it was her toxic work that killed her children. Please read her entire story here:  Then realize that her story is just one of millions of untold and preventable deaths.  

 Pollution is a critical health crisis yet it is being downgraded in importance in the Sustainable Development Goals.

On June 16th, the United Nations’ Open Working Group (OWG) will continue drafting language outlining the most pressing development issues for 2015 through 2030. This document is called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Much of the language in the SDGs regarding pollution has been removed or reduced in importance. Because pollution is now known to be the number one killer of people in low- and middle-income countries, it is critical that the language prioritzing pollution as the largest health threat be put back in and strengthened.

Why are the SDGs important for families like Seynabou?  SDG’s influence where human and financial resources are focused. We need your help convincing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the OWG and the WHO that addressing the health threat of pollution must be a priority and final SDG health language must clearly reflect this.

Please sign the #SpotlightPollution Petition to let Secretary General Ban Ki-moon know that a spotlight needs to be put on pollution. Please sign on the #SpotlightPollution Petition because you want Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to personally step up and convince the OWG to put in and strengthen pollution language in the SDGs. Funding for pollution clean-up and prevention will be greatly diminished without your help.

Please sign now, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will need to show the signatures from this petition by July 14th when the OWG meets again for final wording of the SDGs.

#SpotlightPollution Thank you for your support! 

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