Environment damage causing a quarter of premature deaths: UN report

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NAIROBI: One -fourth of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are caused due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, said the United Nations (UN) on March 13, 2019, in a report on the planet’s parlous state.

The report warned that deadly emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems which are crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy.

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report is compiled by 250 scientists from 70 nations. It depicts a growing difference between rich and poor countries as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty, and disease elsewhere.

Climate change poses a future risk to billions as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods, and superstorms that are made worse by climbing sea levels.

The report said that poor environmental conditions cause approximately 25 per cent of global disease and mortality (around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone). 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhea, parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation. The report says that air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths every year.

Currently, the world throws away a third of all food produced. 56 per cent of food goes to waste in richer nations. The report called for a rapid drawdown in greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use to improve air and water quality.

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