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The Climate and Us: The Human Toll of Deadly Haze

Vital Strategies

Humanity is wrestling with the ubiquitous challenges posed by climate change and its extreme impacts on our health. The Global Climate and Health Alliance’s new online branded series, The Climate and Us, explores how the climate crisis is affecting human health and highlights solutions from the health sector. Vital Strategies and its partners are showcased in the series for their work to address air quality and promote clean air action for health in Jakarta, Indonesia.

About the film

Vital Strategies’ film shares the stories of three members of a Jakarta community living near a bustling urban port, several factories and congested streets—factors which contribute to high levels of air pollution.

Novi, a mother of two, and Cepi express concern over the dust and pollution they and their community breathe. Zalfaa, a local medical student who has been learning about health concerns related to breathing polluted air, volunteers to educate people on this issue. An important part of engaging residents on air pollution are the air monitoring stations that have been set up around Jakarta, including one right next to the school that Novi and Cepi’s children attend.

By being able to access data on the levels of pollution across Jakarta, residents are able to make informed decisions to reduce their risk, and decision makers are able to use the data address the leading sources of pollutants.  

“Clean air is a human right and a public health priority. Right now, more than 90% of the world breathes unhealthy air. Air pollution has wide-reaching negative health consequences including stunting in children, impaired brain development, lung disease, heart disease and cancer, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year. We thank BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions for the visceral storytelling – showing real stories about how air quality affects the lives of people in Jakarta, and some of the work underway to mitigate and reduce air pollution. People are dealing with the negative effects of air pollution in countless cities around the world, and conditions will only get worse if action is not taken.

“Vital Strategies works at the intersection of climate and health to improve air quality – building capacity in Jakarta and other cities to monitor local air quality, and equipping frontline healthcare workers to respond to health concerns caused by air pollution. By illuminating the interconnectedness of human health and planet health, we hope to see a surge in society committing to our shared goal: to improve health for everyone, everywhere through clean air and climate action.” – Sumi Mehta, Vice President, Environmental, Climate & Urban Health, Vital Strategies.

The Climate and Us, presented by the Global Climate and Health Alliance, takes audiences on a cinematic journey across the world, highlighting the critical link between our changing climate and its profound effects on our wellbeing. Through 31 compelling stories spanning six continents, the series explores the realities faced by people worldwide and highlights the wide-ranging solutions we employ to shield our everyday lives.

More resources on the intersection of health and climate

Our Partners: ASAR, Berkeley Air Monitoring Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Clean Air Asia, Climate & Clean Air Coalition, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, DKI Jakarta, Earth Institute of Columbia University, Eastern Africa GEOhealth Hub, Environmental Defense Fund, Health Effects Institute (HEI), SPARTAN, The Global Climate and Health Alliance, World Health Organization, World Resources Institute

Our Funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, UNICEF Indonesia, USAID (via World Resources Institute for Clean Air Catalyst Consortium), USAID India Mission (via Council on Energy, Environment, and Water for Clean Air Better Health Consortium), ClimateWorks Foundation

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