Environment damage behind 1 in 4 deaths, diseases

Updated: Mar 14, 2019, 10:53 IST | Agencies

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) depicts a growing chasm between rich and poor countries as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease

Environment damage behind 1 in 4 deaths, diseases
A warning sign at an oil spill site in Nigeria. Representation pic

A quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, the United Nations said Wednesday in a landmark report on the planet's parlous state.

Deadly smog-inducing emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy, it warned.

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) depicts a growing chasm between rich and poor countries as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease.

As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.

World leaders in 2015 came up with the Paris climate deal, which saw each nation promise action to cut emissions in a bid to limit global temperature rises. But the health impacts are less well understood.

Poor environmental conditions "cause approximately 25 per cent of global disease and mortality." Lacking access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites. The report says air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.

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