Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 54.99
Liaison Denice Koljonen
Submission Date Feb. 6, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Boston College
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
1.00 / 1.00 Jennifer Foley
Project Manager
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Boston College's Global Observatory on Pollution and Health

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Boston College has established the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health to track efforts to control pollution and prevent pollution-related diseases that account for an estimated 9 million deaths worldwide each year.
Professor of Biology Philip J. Landrigan said “the Observatory is going to take on major issues at the intersection of pollution, human health, and public policy. We’ll study particular segments of the problem – how it affects particular countries, different populations, like children, or particular diseases, like cancer. Our reports will be disseminated broadly and aimed at the general public as well as policy makers. What we want to do is mobilize society to see pollution as a serious threat, change public policy, prevent pollution, and, ultimately, save lives.”
The study center will focus its investigative lens on the impact of pollution upon issues including children’s health and adolescent health, cardiovascular disease and death, cancer, and the loss of “human capital” caused by toxic pollutants that impair brain function in children. Priority toxins to study include asbestos, lead, and mercury.
Landrigan and BC officials signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment agency on September 24, establishing the Observatory’s first partnership in advance of a study of pollution in India, said Landrigan.
U.N. Under Secretary General Erik Solheim, executive director of U.N. Environment. said: "Air pollution is one of the biggest public health emergencies of our time. I welcome the partnership between U.N. Environment and Boston College in providing us high-quality, real-time data to tackle air pollution. Importantly, by providing us early warnings of air quality issues, we will have the science we need to chart a course for cleaner air for all.”
The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, which included Landrigan and BC Vice Provost for Research Thomas Chiles, reported in 2017 that air, water, soil and chemical pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world, responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths per year – 16 percent of all deaths worldwide – three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
The Observatory will provide oversight in order to effectively track the global deployment of pollution-control tools and monitor progress on pollution control.
Predicted Outcomes
Each year the Observatory will issue the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health Report. What makes the Observatory different is the comprehensive nature of the analysis. Other institutions are looking at air pollution, but no one else is looking at all the different forms of pollution. The Observatory will use data analyses to study trends and patterns of pollution and provide early warnings of emerging problems. It will generate maps and visual displays to illustrate its findings.
It will also look at convening a biennial global conference to bring together U.N. agencies, governments, and individuals to focus on pollution control strategies and disease prevention.
U.N. Environment Chief Environmental Economist and Coordinator Pushpam Kumar said: “The Global Observatory on Pollution and Health would enable the precise estimate of the environmental burden of disease and its impact on human capital in countries around the world. This would, in turn, prove a cornerstone in understanding the final impact of pollution on economic sustainability and inclusiveness on both national and global scales."

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Air & Climate

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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