Nadda launches centre to assess environmental impact on health

New Delhi: The ‘Centre for Environmental Health’ to assess the impact of environment-related problems like air pollution, climate change, pesticide use and sanitation on health, was launched today by Union Minister J P Nadda.

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda.
The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda.

A joint initiative of the Public Health Foundation of India and the Tata Institute of Social Science, the centre will conduct research across a range of environmental health issues, including chemical exposure, water and hygiene.

Its mandate also includes capacity-building, advocacy, outreach and remedial issues.

“Evidence based research is very important as it gives us strength to sensitise people in that direction.

“The ministry is proactive on environmental issues, concentrating on preventive and promotive health and this comes in that ambit,” Nadda, who launched the centre jointly with former environment minister Jairam Ramesh, said.

The Health Minister said the government will work in close coordination with the centre, noting that the research will help in policy-making and sensitising people about the issue.

“This research and capacity-building will be very helpful to us. Whatever inputs we get from the centre we will go forward in that direction and certainly work towards making a difference,” he said.

Ramesh, who had initiated the work for the centre six years ago, said environment-related issues need to be looked upon from the public perspective.

“If you look at environment as an environmental issue, it will come across as a regulatory burden. It will seem that environment is a constrain for ease of doing business

“We need to look at the environment issues from public health perspective to get political support at the highest level. We need to create larger research community and bring this community into the mainstream of policy-making,” he said.

Ramesh said the research component of the centre is going to be an important aspect for the government to follow.

The centre will also establish a policy engagement platform with regular meetings with the government, civil society, academia and the private sector to develop pathways for better implementation of the eco-friendly policies.