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Environment Article
World Environment Day-June 5, 2005

"Green Cities" is the theme of World Environment Day, June 5, 2005. This annual event, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, highlights environmental issues, encourages persons worldwide to participate in sustainable and equitable development, and promotes awareness of the importance of communities in changing attitudes toward environmental concerns. San Francisco is the host city for World Environment Day 2005.

When roads and buildings replace natural land cover, urban air temperatures can exceed those of the surrounding countryside by as much as 41[degrees]F (5[degrees]C) (1). Creation of preservation of green spaces in cities can mitigate this so-called heat-island effect. Green areas in urban settings also produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and enhance air quality; provide storm water control; and provide habitat for urban wildlife. Well-managed urban settlements can support growing urban populations by limiting their impact on the environment and improving their health. National and local policies can discourage waste, encourage conservation, and promote sustainable solutions.

Ongoing activities at CDC contribute to best practices for environmental public health nationally and internationally. CDC aims to protect all communities from environmental threats and to promote health in places where persons live, work, learn, and play. These activities include preventing lead poisoning, controlling asthma, reducing the health impact of natural and technological disasters, reducing exposure to toxic substances, preparing for emergencies involving radiation or radioactive materials, environmental public health tracking (2), and using laboratory testing to determine exposures to chemicals in the environment. CDC also provides information about environmental toxins and hazards (3,4). CDC's environmental health activities are detailed at http://www.atsdr. cdc.gov and http://www.cdc.gov/nceh. Additional information about World Environment Day 2005 is available at http://www.wed2005.org.


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