SEGAMAT: From this year, the national-level World Environmental Health Day celebration will be held on Sept 26 in a move to curb diseases caused by pollution.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry had recognised the event and placed it in the calendar.
“This is important as health threats are caused by environment pollution, physical, chemical or biological.
“Diseases such as dengue, Zika, leptospirosis and others are spread to the public due to our environment being polluted by irresponsible quarters,” he told reporters after launching the national-level World Environmental Health Day at SJK(C) Jementah here yesterday.
He said the ministry would continue to create awareness on its campaign and create better working relations with various agencies to enforce rules.
Dr Subramaniam, who is also the Segamat MP, said the ministry was also aiming for a 15% reduction in the number of smokers in the country by 2025.
He said a Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) showed that 4.7 million Malaysians aged 15 and above were smokers.
“Malaysia spends about RM2.92bil a year to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease and lung cancer.
“Diseases related to smoking such as cancer and cardiovascular are the main causes of early death for three decades in a row in the country,” he said, adding that each year, about 20,000 Malaysians die from these diseases.
Dr Subramaniam noted if smoking patterns did not change among Malaysians, there would be an increase in deaths to 30,000 by 2020.
He stressed that the Government was committed to supporting the World Health Organisation’s cause to control and fight the smoking pandemic world wide.
“Medical practitioners have an important role to play in carrying out activities such as protecting non-smokers from cigarette smoke, giving counselling to stop smoking, warning about the dangers of smoking and enforcing the banning of advertising, promotion, and sponsoring of tobacco under the Tobacco Control Act 2004,” he said.
He added that the ministry would also gazette more non-smoking areas throughout the country to make it even harder for those wanting to light up in public.