Inaugural Environmental Health Hero award goes to US campaigner

Prominent US campaigner, Heather Leibowitz, is the winner of the CIEH’s inaugural Environmental Hero Award for 2016.  

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Heather Leibowitz receives her award from Dr Celia Bell, Middlesex University  

Ms Leibowitz, director of charity Environment New York, was recognised for championing issues including climate change, fracking and water quality. Ms Leibowitz is a lawyer who has worked at government level, including as an advisor to the Dominican Republic on global warming.

In particular, she ran a successful, high-profile campaign for the US’s Clean Water Act to be widened to include all streams and wetlands. Ms Leibowitz’s work contributed to a new law being passed last year by the Obama administration, which was hailed the largest victory for clean water in the US for more than a decade.

The awards were sponsored by Middlesex University, and on the night, Anne Godfrey, CIEH Chief Executive, said: “These awards, held for the first time this year, acknowledge those whose work has contributed to improving health and wellbeing, locally, regionally, or, as in this case, nationally.

“Heather worked tirelessly to raise awareness of a significant issue and bring about change. She is an environmental health hero in the best sense.”

Ms Leibowitz travelled to the UK to receive her award at a special ceremony in London. Those shortlisted included individuals active in environmental protection, food safety, reducing cigarette litter and environmental health in the Royal Navy.

Specially commended was Raza Miah, technical officer with Worcestershire Regulatory Services. Mr Miah attracted the judges’ attention for his outstanding work in improving food safety in a traditionally hard-to-reach sector, Indian restaurants. His work included organising seminars for Indian restaurant staff and liaising with local mosques. 

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Raza Miah from Worcestershire Regulatory Services 

To be eligible for an award, entrants must have caused the termination of a threat to health or the environment or made a significant improvement to health or wellbeing. The awards were presented in partnership with Middlesex University.

Anne Godfrey, CIEH chief executive comments: “Our members, environmental health professionals, work every day to make life better for the public, but, as this competition has shown, they are not the only environmental heroes. The number, range and quality of entries for this competition were stunning and it was a privilege to judge them.”

Dr Celia Bell, head of department of Natural Sciences at Middlesex University, added: “We are delighted to partner with the CIEH on the Environmental Hero Award which is designed to promote those who actively champion cleaner, healthier and safer environments and lifestyles.”

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