The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution was formed in 2012 in response to the growing crises posed by toxic pollution. GAHP was established to provide low-and middle-income countries with the tools to tackle toxic pollution and alleviate its impacts on human health. The Alliance has been tasked to coordinate resources to identify and clean up toxic hot spots in order to improve the health of affected populations.
GAHP’s vision is to help create a world where present and future generations, especially children and pregnant women, are safe from toxic pollution.
GAHP is a collaborative body that facilitates the provision of technical and financial resources to governments and communities to reduce the impacts of pollution on health in low- and middle-income countries.
People affected by pollution are much more likely to get sick from other diseases, be chronically ill, and have reduced neurological development, physical and mental disabilities and a shortened lifespan. This reduces quality of life, results in significant costs for public health and can aggravate poverty. Without cleanup, contaminated sites pose long-term environmental and health problems, and can significantly impede economic and social development.
GAHP focuses on raising awareness about chemicals, wastes and toxic pollution, its human health and environmental impacts. GAHP also works to elevate the issue of pollution to a priority status, mainstreaming into both national and international development agendas. Until recently, very little information was available on the scope of toxic pollution in low- and middle-income countries, with the exception of Mexico, China and existing databases on pesticides stockpiles. Data on human health exposures was sparse or non-existent.
In order for the international community and countries to begin to take action to mitigate the impacts of toxic pollution, chemicals and hazardous wastes on human health, decision-makers need to have key information and understand the scope of chemicals, wastes and toxic pollution in their country so that they can prioritize areas for intervention.
Another main focus of GAHP is to assist countries to take concrete, on-the-ground action to mitigate the adverse impacts of toxicants on human health. This includes providing technical expertise, capacity building and training, as well as on–the-job training and financial support for pilot project implementation. As GAHP assists nations in establishing or expanding effective national pollution mitigation programs, it provides relevant advice and technical assistance focused on concrete actions to tackle priority pollution problems. Measurable reductions are achieved in toxic pollution as well as associated health impacts.