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 , it warned.

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO)—a six years in the making compiled by 250 scientists from 70 nations—depicts a growing chasm between rich and as rampant overconsumption, pollution and in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease elsewhere.

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 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 to 1.5C (2.7 Fahrenheit).

But the health impacts of pollution, deforestation and the mechanised food-chain are less well understood.

Nor is there any international agreement for the environment close to covering what the Paris accord does for climate.

The GEO compiles a litany of pollution-related health emergencies.

It said that poor environmental conditions “cause approximately 25 percent of global disease and mortality”—around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone.

Read more at: Phys.org