A man walks past a factory’s smoke stack in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district late last year. Pha Lina
Yesenia Amaro, The Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 30 September 2016
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.
A woman washes dishes with her son on the side of a dirt road in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district in 2013. Hong Menea
Cristina Maza, The Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 30 September 2016
The government must boost efforts to eradicate malnutrition among Cambodia’s women and children, many of whom are still chronically malnourished despite improvements in recent years, according to a new report in the International Journal of Food and Nutritional Science.
Basing the study on a review of research from UN organisations, non-profits and the government, the authors determined that stunting among Cambodia’s children under the age of 5 dropped from 45 percent in 2010 to 32 percent in 2014. Nevertheless, malnutrition is still thought to contribute to around 45 percent of child deaths in Cambodia, the study says.
“The drop in stunting is a great achievement for the country, but 32 percent is still very concerning,” said David Raminashvili, a nutrition expert at World Vision Cambodia. “If this trend continues for five years, then we’ll see some progress.”
The study considers children “stunted” if they are below an average height range for their age. A designation of “wasted”, meanwhile, is applied for children who are below average weight for their height, and “underweight” applies to children who are below average weight for their age. As of 2014, 24 percent of Cambodia’s children under the age of 5 were underweight, while 10 percent were wasted.
Global development experts widely believe that stunting in developing nations has a long-term negative impact on a country’s economic growth and development. According to a study cited in the report, malnutrition is among the most important factors causing poverty in Cambodia. (more…)
A rescued baby pangolin is released in the forest by an Indonesian government wildlife and conservation officer in 2012 after Indonesian police intercepted 85 endangered pangolins from suspected smugglers. AFP
Shaun Turton, The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 29 September 2016
Yesterday was hailed as a “good day for pangolins” after a meeting of signatories to the CITES wildlife protection treaty decided to move the Asian species of “scaly anteater” to the agreement’s Appendix 1 category, which bans all commercial trade in the small mammals in the region.
The proposal to elevate the creature, the most-trafficked in the world, according to a recent study by San Francisco-based NGO WildAid, was one of a number voted on at the 17th conference of CITES parties, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The decision follows years of dramatic population decline among the elusive animals, which are hunted and sold for their meat in China and Vietnam, where some believe they have medicinal qualities.
The species found in Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia – the sunda pangolin – is listed as critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, which states “virtually no” information is available on population numbers.
Speaking yesterday, Nick Marx, director of wildlife rescue and care programs for Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia, said that though the pangolin’s endangered status already prescribed punishments for trading, he hoped the CITES ruling would further boost protection efforts.
“Hopefully this will make things even safer. Pangolins have been reduced in numbers hugely everywhere in the world, they fetch a high price and they’re heavily traded,” he said, adding his organisation had confiscated about two or three of the animal in recent months. “It is illegal here, there are laws protecting them. Our rescue team was confiscating pangolins quite frequently before, and now much less so, because their number has been seriously reduced.”
Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world. ~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching