Human-induced environmental degradation impacts not only ecosystems but also human health. Over 20 million life years are lost annually in Mediterranean countries due to ill-health, disability or death and more than 500,000 deaths occur each year as a result of living or working in unhealthy environments. The health burden is mainly due to air pollution but also to chemicals, lack of worker protection, inadequate water and sanitation and emerging pollutants, including from the health sector itself. Climate change is also a threat to human health, with increased risks of morbidity and mortality linked to heatwaves, extreme events such as drought, storms and floods, as well as increased transmission potential of vector-, water- and food-borne diseases. Integrated policies fostering the link between health and the environment, including emergency preparedness, response and recovery plans, need to be further developed, along with awareness-raising on environment-related risks within health care systems and the impact of the health sector on the environment.

Sustainable Development Goals:
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