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26 Sep 2019

The British Medical Association used the global climate day of action in September to issue a strong warning that climate change and air pollution are already damaging the health of the British public, as well as populations around the world.

The UK doctors’ union added its voice to those taking part in the global climate movement, stressing it has long called on the UK Government to take urgent action by introducing legally enforced air quality standards. 

The BMA also asked for the net-zero emissions target to be met by 2030 and for funding to be made available for research into the real economic and health impacts of air pollution and climate change.

One of the BMA’s chief officers and GP, Dr Helena McKeown, said: “It is inspiring to see young people here in the UK and all those across the globe caring about our world, raising awareness and calling for bold action on the climate emergency we are currently facing.

“As doctors we know only too well that poor air quality leads to serious illness, even death, as it affects not just our breathing, but people with diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Extreme environmental changes and the resulting risk of disease and infections are major health concerns that will further exacerbate poverty and inequalities.

“The scale of the change needed is far greater than we can achieve as individuals; the main agent of change is the Government who has the power to act and implement the reforms needed to safeguard our health and that of future generations.”

In July this year, the BMA declared climate change to be a health emergency.

The Australian Medical Association formally recognised climate change as a health emergency in September, although it has held a position on the health impacts of climate change since 2004.



Published: 26 Sep 2019