With a recent report showing significant health risks as a result of climate change and poor environmental quality, an energy and environmental engineering specialist is urging the UK and Welsh Government, as well as business owners, to step up to their responsibilities to provide a better environment for society and its workers.
Chris Jenkins, director of Swansea-based EFT Consult – a company that provides environmental and energy solutions to all manner of organisations – claims this latest report highlights the drastic impact poor air quality is having on the health and well-being of society.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Lancet Countdown report published on the 31 October, shows that thousands of premature deaths and absences due to sickness can be prevented if appropriate policies are implemented to combat poor environmental quality. This will result in a society where people are healthier with better well-being and provide the UK with economic benefits.
Mr Jenkins fully supports the recommendations of the report, which states Governments must act on air pollution as an urgent priority to help create cleaner air, which will subsequently help prevent illness, premature deaths and save billions in public money. The expansion of Clean Air Zones is also recommended, to ensure cleaner air in the UK’s towns and cities.
The report further showed last year (2016), along with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the RCP estimated air pollution causes around 40,000 premature deaths per year, as well as over six million sick days. This has an estimated total social cost of £22.6 billion per year.
EFT Consult offers a holistic approach that takes into account economic, environmental health and social well-being principles to enable organisations to work towards becoming self-sustainable whilst saving money and reducing business risk. Jenkins suggests that while business owners can implement change to provide greater well-being benefits for their staff through offering an optimum working environment, the advantages will be greater with adequate action from Governments.
Chris Jenkins, director of EFT Consult, commented:
“We fully support the recommendations of this report, which indicates just how serious the impact of poor air quality is on health and well-being. The well-being of staff and their productivity can suffer as a result of being in an environment where the air quality is poor. Smarter ventilation can help to solve this issue, but if the incoming air is polluted, then people’s health and productivity is still in jeopardy.
“This isn’t just about a clean environment, but limiting suffering, saving lives and being more productive as a society. This will not only help lift the mounting pressure on the NHS, but also boost the economy. This can only be done with support from the Government and local authorities to ensure a positive impact on the health and well-being of those throughout the UK.
“The recommendations are in line with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which are based on improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, and this is something we are passionate about as a company.”