The Health and Pollution Action Plan (HPAP) program of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) is a pollution analysis and prioritization process designed to assist governments of low- and middle-income countries to develop and implement solutions to priority pollution challenges. The HPAP program brings together national ministries of environment, health, industry, transport, energy, mining, agriculture and others to mainstream pollution across agencies and advance concrete actions. The goal of each HPAP is to establish pollution as a priority for action within national agencies and development plans, and to define and advance interventions to reduce pollution exposures and related illnesses.
While the scope of each HPAP can be tailored to the national circumstances, the program is intended to be a broad review of multiple pollution challenges, and aims to assist governments to identify, evaluate and prioritize existing pollution issues based on health impacts. The HPAP process is designed to communicate the full impacts of pollution to as broad an audience as possible, and thus relies heavily on health and economic impact data to present a compelling justification for increased resources and action.
This news article highlights the strong show of support from the Minister of Environment in Ghana.
Bangladesh has begun to address broad pollution and health issues, particularly around air pollution and access to safe water. It was agreed the Bangladesh Department of Environment that the HPAP there should focus on neglected issues, particularly chemicals.
Earlier activities in preparation for the HPAP increased attention to the informal recycling of used lead-acid batteries in the country, which is a large and growing challenge and a significant contributor to Bangladesh’s environmental burden of disease. Consequently, the Bangladesh Department of Environment established in 2018 a National Lead-Acid Battery Committee to address this challenge, and lead-acid battery recycling was highlighted as a priority issue in the World Bank’s Country Environmental Analysis.
A chemicals-focused HPAP is being finalized with the Government, specifically as a basis for discussion with the World Bank administered “Pollution Management and Environment Health (PMEH)” Trust Fund. The HPAP will potentially influence both the PMEH program in Bangladesh and how the WB and other development partners design future technical and financial assistance programs related to pollution.
Preparations for the Senegal HPAP begin in early 2018, and have included background research on available pollution and health data and extensive conversations and coordination with relevant stakeholders. The HPAP process is expected to begin in summer of 2019.
In 2019, GAHP will initiate the first provincial HPAP with the government of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Pure Earth has a long history of work in Kalimantan and a track record of trust and collaboration with local authorities.
Pollution prioritization processes led by GAHP in India predate by several years the formal HPAP program but are based on the same principles and have informed the overall approach. GAHP and Pure Earth have been advocating the need to address the health burden of all pollution, with a focus on air pollution and lead pollution. Urban air pollution has received significant attention in recent years and is the subject of many new initiatives. The Indian government’s National Policy Commission (NITI-Aayog) has recently embarked on a comprehensive program to mitigate lead pollution in the country. The lead program comprises the following four components:
- A demonstration lead source apportionment study in Bihar State, where cooperative efforts to reduce lead releases have been implemented.
- Revisions to India’s Battery Management and Handling Rules (BMHR) 2010, with a view to ensuring that used lead-acid batteries (ULABs)—likely the principal source of lead exposures in India—end up with formal sector recyclers rather than with backyard operators. Several detailed proposals have been submitted, including one to reduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on recycled lead to match that for some other recycled materials such as paper and electronic waste.
- Development of a strategy to collect data on death and disability from exposure to pollution of all kinds, not just from lead, in India. This strategy will be developed by leading Indian health sector institutions and agencies.
- A public education and information campaign on the health implications of pollution of all kinds. An international public relations firm is providing pro bono support to design an awareness raising campaign focused on a single State to start with (again, Bihar).