“Although many countries have not done an extensive assessment of their health sectors’ contributions to climate change, the NHS estimates that the health sector represents 39% of all public sector greenhouse gas emissions in England. In the US, healthcare contributes 9% of overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Pollution and toxic waste rank alongside climate change as major threats to health and sustainability, particularly for low income communities. The World Bank estimates that 23% of child deaths among residents of India could be attributed to pollution, which means that about 350,000 children aged under 5 years die every year as a result of bad air, contaminated water, or similar problems. Unfortunately, healthcare is an important contributor to morbidity and mortality from pollution. One study estimated that the indirect health burdens caused by emissions from the healthcare sector are commensurate with the health burden caused by preventable medical errors.
Increasingly, healthcare organisations of all sizes are implementing strategies to limit their harmful environmental effects. By switching to renewable energy and reducing healthcare waste, healthcare organisations can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, contribute to growth in renewable energy employment, and realise large financial savings.”
More on How Healthcare Can Help Heal Communities and the Planet (2019) by Francis et al via BMJ.